SARugbymag.co.za chats to Paarl Boys’ High 1st XV coach Sean Erasmus about the upcoming season.
What are the lessons that you have learned from last year?
We learn lessons every weekend. It is an eye-opener to see how schools rugby is getting stronger and more technical. Each weekend is becoming a Test match in the sense that the boys are becoming better players. Each weekend is becoming a tough game. Every school is now putting effort into developing youngsters.
What has been your main focus preparing for this season?
The approach has always been in developing the player. To work on the person. For us, we have a mental approach. With the 150th anniversary this year, more than ever we are making sure that the boys stay grounded, being mentally ready for the challenges that come this year. We have been doing the normal off-season stuff, working with the law variations.
How many of last year’s 1st XV are still in your squad?
I have a strong philosophy of making sure that the guys who are in the 2nd XV are run together as a unit with the 1st XV. So all of my 2nd XV have played 1st XV last year. A greater part of the second XV was Grade 11s. In terms of guys who were in the starting lineup last year, we have three or four players left. In terms of the overall squad of 30, we have around 15 players left.
What goals have you set for the season?
I really want the guys to enjoy this year because it is the 150th anniversary of the school. It is a special year and a lot of people will be part of it. I am still looking forward to expanding the family culture that we have. Most importantly, we are looking at changing how we approach the game, creating a faster and better brand as we go along.
What will be your toughest game this year?
We have the 150th-anniversary tournament, the World Schools festival, coming up so we will have two really tough games there. Every single game that we are involved with is tough to get through because everyone wants to be the best against you and they absolutely lift themselves.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images