SACS 1st XV coach Graeme Wepener chats to OLLIE KEOHANE about Saturday’s Classic Clash against Wynberg.
After losing by a big score to Bishops, SACS responded by beating Rondebosch convincingly away from home, having drawn with them at home last term. To what would you attribute the big turnaround?
At this stage of the season the coaching is basically over and as clichéd as it might sound, it usually comes down to who wants it more on the day. It’s all mental and after not pitching up in the right frame of mind and being punished by Bishops we had to bounce back against Rondebosch. We were desperate and I think it showed.
As mentioned, last term’s home game against Rondebosch ended in a draw. What was different this time, as you guys put four tries past them and conceded just one?
We didn’t have many lineouts, which was an area they dominated in the first game. We defended their maul well and handled their kicking game better and this resulted in three great counter-attacking tries.
Wynberg is SACS’ official derby, and this match will be televised on SuperSport as a Classic Clash. Does this hype work in favour of you guys mentally or is it a distraction?
I think of it as a distraction and try to keep it out of the boys’ minds completely, but it should motivate them to play better given they are showing off their skills and representing their school on national TV.
Last season, after beating Wynberg at home, you guys went down away from home in the last match. Is there a sense of wanting revenge for you and the boys who played that match?
Not really revenge. We just want to make sure we don’t make the same mental mistake as last year and finish the season on a high. The saying rightly states that you are only as good as your last game.
What has been the main focus this week preparation-wise, and what type of rugby will the boys be looking to put in action come Saturday?
As I’ve highlighted, it’s mainly mental. Once again the maul defence will be key as Wynberg are renowned for their territory game, strong scrum and maul. That being said, as it’s the last game they might throw that out the window like they did last year and have a crack at us. We have to prepare for anything. There is the odd technical tweak but we will be looking to take the game to Wynberg and to match them physically.
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