SARugbymag.co.za chats to Grey College 1st XV coach Wessel du Plessis about the upcoming season.
What are the lessons you learned from last year?
We did very well last season, ending second in the country [in the Top 20 rankings]. There are certainly some things that we can change as you have to do different things to get different results. We are looking at things like transitioning between attack and defence quickly. In order to do that we need to up the conditioning of our players to ensure they are fit enough to play at a high intensity.
How are you going to maintain the success of last season?
Mainly it comes down to hard work. We need to play a style of rugby that suits our team. As I said, the transition between attack and defence is becoming very important, so we will focus on that. It is something I feel should be coached at school level already.
How many of last year’s 1st XV are still in your squad?
We only have six players who were usually in our match 23 last year – lock De Wet Marais, scrumhalf Ross Braude, fullback Richard Kriel, prop Herman Agenbag and centre Wycliff Vlitoor. We have quite a young squad, but you get that some years and that’s fine.
What goals have you set for the season?
It’s always tough at Grey as we have high expectations of being the No 1 rugby school in the country. We will concentrate a bit more on conditioning because that is definitely going to play a role. If you want to change your playing style, you have to be better conditioned. We want to be able to play Grey rugby, which is moving the ball in space. That’s how you win matches, along with being clinical in the big games.
What will be your toughest game this year?
The important games for us are always Affies and Paul Roos. But over the past few years, Boishaai have also been up there. They have changed schoolboy rugby with the way they have approached it professionally regarding their recruitment and coaching structures. Two other tough matches for us will be against Monument and Garsfontein.
Interview by Dylan Jack
Photo: Frans Lombard/ActionPix