Adrian Alberts is confident his SA Schools team can win all three of their U18 international series matches against Wales, France and England. DYLAN JACK reports.
SA Schools will start their campaign against Wales at Boland Landbou this Friday, before facing France at Stellenberg next Tuesday and conclude against England next Saturday at SACS.
The class of 2018 is aiming to banish the ghosts of last year when SA Schools lost all three of their matches.
‘We have got a very talented group,’ Alberts said. ‘I was fortunate enough to be a part of it last year, and this year the guys get along very well. There is a good vibe and atmosphere, we enjoy every second together and we are looking forward to Friday’s match.
‘The guys who were here last year have learned from that experience and we are trying to bring a more energised approach this year, working harder to fix what happened. The new guys are adapting well and we are enjoying the hard work and training.’
Alberts said it was ‘an immense honour and a massive privilege’ to captain the team.
‘I am going to take the opportunity with both hands and make the most of it. I will just focus on being myself and hopefully, I will be the right leader for the team.’
Alberts, who also captained the Paarl Boys’ High 1st XV this year, is expecting three ‘massively physical games’ this month.
‘At this level, it is the least that you can expect,’ he added. ‘They are going to be very professional and we are going to have to work hard for each match. We are looking forward to it, and hopefully, we can succeed in what we want to do.
‘We are expecting that same physicality against Wales and I hear they are expecting that from us. I think it will be a good clash, they have a lot of talented players so we are going to have to grind until the last minute.’
With at most four days to prepare for each game, Alberts says adapting to each team’s approach will be a challenge.
‘We need to keep the guys focused. Three matches in a short period of time, when most of us are used to a school match every weekend, it is going to be challenge, but I am sure we can get it right.
‘We ultimately want to win all three. But we also want to build relationships and a strong bond that will last long after these two weeks. We are here to train good men on and off the field.’
SA Schools squad – Jacques Goosen (Border), Hanru Jacobs (WP), Lunga Ncube (Glenwood), Adrian Alberts (WP), Tristan Dullisear (Lions), Mihlali Mgolodela (WP), Evan Roos (WP), Thomas Bursey (Border), Stravino Jacobs (WP), Brendan Venter (WP), Muzi Manyike (Lions), Wycliff Vlitoor (Free State), Darren Hendricks (WP), JJ Kotze (WP), Dewald Donald (Blue Bulls), Jacobus Aggenbach (Free State), Emile van Heerden (WP), Sibusiso Sangweni (Sharks), Celimpilo Gumede (Sharks), De Wet Marais (Free State), Keke Morabe (Griffons), Jurich Claassens (Blue Bulls), Juan Mostert (WP), Rynhardt Jonker (Sharks), Mnombo Zwelindada (Border), Sibabaalwe Xamlashe (Border), Jarrod Taylor (Border), Uzile Tele (Border), Thabiso Mdletshe (Sharks), Lwandile Menze (Sharks).
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images