SARugbymag.co.za chats to Kempton Park 1st XV coach Oupa van der Merwe about the upcoming season.
How many of last year’s 1st XV players are still in the squad?
Sixteen players from our 2013 squad will still be available to us this year.
What has been your main focus in preparing for this season?
We are starting 2014 with a new coaching staff in former Lions captain Quinton van Tonder, Dewald Peyper and Marnus de Vries, and their main focus has been on getting good structures in place as well as agility and strength conditioning.
Who are the key players in your squad?
Johan Meyer, Juandré van der Walt, Christopher Schimper, Hanno van Tonder, Stephan Matinalia and Marnus Gruber will be important for us as they are the most experienced in our squad.
Who will be your toughest opposition this year?
Playing Monnas at the Tuks Super 16 tournament is going to be really tough. We are also participating in the Oakdale tournament and our rivals EG Jansen are always a tough task in the Beeld Trophy.
What lessons have you learned from last season?
To have an effective squad system that allows all the players to get full exposure, and be able to adapt in situations where any player can fit in easily to the Kempies' style of play.
What are your goals for the 2014 season?
I'll focus game by game and tournament by tournament, but also grow our brand of Kempies' rugby.