‘We want to stay No 1 in Eastern Cape’

SARugbymag.co.za chats to Grey High 1st XV coach Fenner Barnard about the upcoming season.

How many of last year’s 1st XV players are still in the squad?
Quite a lot of last year’s team have matriculated, but there are a sprinkling of Grade 11s playing their second season of 1st XV rugby.

What has been your main focus in preparing for this season?
We have focused a bit more on conditioning and fitness. The squad enjoyed an unbeaten five-match tour of the UK in December.

Who are the key players in your squad?
It is not fair to single boys out for attention. There is enough expectation and pressure on 1st XV players as it is!

Who will be your toughest opposition this year?
The fixture list is tough each season, and with the increasing level of professionalism at 1st XV level at all schools there are no easy beats. That said, EG Jansen and Waterkloof will be tough at the Wildeklawer festival, while Grey College and Paul Roos are always very tough.

What lessons have you learned from last season?
We will take things one match at a time. There are always numerous areas that require attention, and seeing that it’s a new team the challenges this year will be different to those we faced in 2013.

What are your goals for the 2014 season?
Maintain our top spot in the Eastern Cape and be competitive on a national level.

Q&A with Nelspruit 1st XV coach

Q&A with Oakdale 1st XV coach