St John’s College will host Parktown Boys’ in the first Classic Clash of the season on Saturday.
St John’s made a successful start to 2016 when they beat St Andrew’s (Bloemfontein) 31-5. Parktown lost their first outing 40-8 to Helpmekaar Kollege, but turned things around last weekend by thrashing Fourways High 64-5.
‘It’s going to be a very different challenge against Parktown [compared to St. Andrew’s] because the match is going to be televised,’ St John’s coach Kevin Musikanth told SARugbymag.co.za. ‘There’s added pressure for a lot of the players because it’s their first time playing in a televised match. But we’re not worrying about trying to relieve that pressure, we’re just preparing the same way as we normally do.
‘We’ve placed a large emphasis on match preparation for the start of our season. The boys obviously need to go out there and perform, but we need to prepare them properly and coach them correctly so they perform adequately on the day.
‘It’s tough going into a Classic Clash this early in the season, but we’ve got good leaders in our captain Sibiya Sibiya [hooker] and vice-captain Quintus Kilbourn [centre]. We also have a strong 1st XV group this year who’ve come through from last year’s 2nd XV, where they’ve been well prepared by their coach Gerrie Visser.’
Parktown coach Andrew van Zyl is not too concerned by the mixed results of their first two matches as they have been boosted by the return of their captain, hooker Lesiba Molopa, and lock Warrick Lang for Saturday’s clash.
‘You can’t really compare the games against Helpmekaar and Fourways as there is a big difference in the strength of both sides,’ said Van Zyl. ‘Helpmekaar are a strong outfit this year. They did well to beat us in the second half of that match after we were able to put them under pressure in the first half. Our defensive structure was good, but they were able to get around us to score.
‘Our attacking game came good against Fourways, who weren’t organised enough on defence to stop the firepower we have on attack. If you’re carrying a lot of ball and getting over the advantage line, it makes attacking a lot easier.
‘Much of our success last year was due to our ability to put the ball in the right areas of the field. We were able to create enough pressure on defence to turn the ball over and play in the right areas. We will be looking to do the same against St John’s on Saturday,’ he said.
By Tyrone Engel
Photo: St John’s