SARugbymag.co.za chats to Paarl Gim 1st XV coach Pieter Rossouw about the upcoming season.
What are the lessons you learned from last year?
We had a really good preparation and a solid start to the season. We had a really tough run of fixtures against the top 20 schools in the country and this year it will be the same. I know we have to prepare well and be ready. We will not be playing against any weak sides, so it is going to be a really tough year for us again. But the guys are looking forward to it and want to play the best teams every year.
What has been your main focus preparing for this season?
It doesn’t change a lot from previous years. Obviously, we need to make sure we do the basic things really well, in terms of scrums, lineouts and core skills. We need to make sure the guys are really strong and fit.
What have you learned in Japan that you can apply to schoolboy rugby?
One of the major things I learned from Japan and the Japanese players is work ethic. They have an unbelievable work ethic. For around half-an-hour after training they will stay and do individual skills, so you actually have to chase them off the field. The semi-professional nature in Japan is also similar to schoolboy rugby, in that the Japan players have to fit rugby in with their jobs, much like schoolboys have to fit rugby in with academics and school.
How many of last year’s 1st XV are still in your squad?
Not a lot. We only have three players left over from last year – wing Stravino Jacobs, centre Dawid Kellerman and flank Dean Nieuwoudt.
What goals have you set for the season?
We want to start well. We play against really good sides, so we need to really make sure that we are ready for the competition that we are going to face.
What will be your toughest game this year?
We can’t single out which game is going to be tough and which game isn’t because each game that we play is going to be difficult. Every side that we face is going to want to beat us. Every game is tough, this year especially. I will be surprised if there is a team that will go through this year unbeaten.
Interview by Dylan Jack
Photo: Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images