SARugbymag.co.za chats to Grey College 1st XV coach Wessel du Plessis about the upcoming season.
How have you prepared for the 2016 season?
We’ve only had a couple of training sessions. Getting the boys properly conditioned has been difficult, but we’re almost where we want to be in that regard. Until we’re satisfied, gym workouts and field work remain top priority.
What lessons did you learn from last season?
That a clustered schedule helps no one. Playing against all the top schools in a short period of time, while also competing at every festival we are invited to puts unnecessary strain on everyone involved. Not only does it interfere with the boys’ other sporting commitments, it wears them down, making them vulnerable to injury. That’s why our fixtures have been adjusted in co-ordinance with the other summer sport codes and the reason why we’ve declined to attend the Kearsney Easter Festival this year.
What are your primary goals for the year?
Mainly to play better than last season. Playing attractive rugby has always been a great strength of ours and we have to start playing that brand again. Sure, I want a winning culture within the team, but in my eyes keeping the spectators entertained and letting the kids enjoy their rugby are more important.
How many players from last year’s 1st XV will return this year?
There are seven of them: Gideo Beukes [prop], Matthew Wessels [hooker], Dian Scoonees [loose forward], Rewan Kruger [scrumhalf], Mario Vieira [flyhalf], Marnus Boshoff [wing] and Jandre de Beer [fullback].
Who will be your key players this year?
We don’t rely on any individual or on key positions to lift the team. Playing for Grey is a group effort and I believe all our players go out onto the field with the same enthusiasm and will to win.
What will be your biggest challenge of the season?
At a school like Grey College, there are no easy games on the calendar. We have scheduled inter-schools games nationwide and we’ll attend a number of events. Ideally, it is at the prestigious Wildeklawer Super Schools festival where I’d like the team to excel this year.
By Mariette Adams
Photo: Grey College