SARugbymag.co.za chats to Queen's College 1st XV coach Murray Basset about the upcoming season.
How many of last year’s 1st XV players are still in the squad?
We have seven of last year’s starting XV back and a further three squad players also returning. So a total of 10 players have first team experience which will stand us in good stead I am sure.
What has been your main focus in preparing for this season?
We have spent a lot of time in conditioning our boys. In terms of rugby skills, we have kept to the basics by doing hours and hours of simple passing drill to teach the players to pass accurately. It always amazes me how poorly some players pass at this level.
Who are the key players in your squad?
I don’t like to single out individuals in a team as they all have key roles to play in the team. We do however have one Craven Week player back from last year, Jerry Danquah and also four academy week players in the form of Uhuru Vanda, Siyavuya Mlwayo, Alan Graham Rautenbach and Avela Jubase. These players will certainly be leading from the front and add valuable experience to our team.
Who will be the toughest opposition this year?
Every game at this level is tough. All schools today can field 15 good rugby players. All our traditional rivals in the Eastern Cape have strong sides this year so I don’t think it is possible to single out one opposing team. Our derbies against Selborne, Dale, Grey PE and St Andrew's will all be tough fixtures this season.
What lessons have you learned from last season?
There is nowhere to hide at this level. Every Saturday will be a tough game and one has to stand up and be counted no matter how tired, sore and bruised you are. It is about showing up every Saturday and being able to perform at one's best level.
What are your goals for the 2014 season?
Queen’s College has produced some excellent 1st XV’s in the last three years and many more down the years. We have consistently been in the top 20 for most SA schoolboy ranking systems for many years. We obviously want to stay in the company and build on our reputation as one of the outstanding rugby schools in SA. The 2014 1st XV has the potential to be right up there with the top schoolboy teams in SA.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images