‘We’ve got a brand-new team’

SARugbymag.co.za chats to Middelburg's 1st XV coach Gert van der Westhuizen about the upcoming season.

How many of last year's 1st XV players are still in your squad?
None, we are starting the season with a brand-new team.

What has been your main focus in preparing for this season?
Because we are such a young, inexperienced team, we're working on skills development. The teams we will be facing have superior skills and if we want to be competitive, we must match those skills.

Who are the key players in your squad?
Our wing Bennie Mashabane. He's very strong and fast and he has a good hand-off.

What are the lessons you learned from last season?
Well, there's not much we can take from last year's performances, is there? This team wasn't in the fold then. As I said, they are young and inexperienced, they'll make mistakes and learn from them as the season goes on.

What will be your toughest game this year?
It's a long season, but I'll say the matches against our arch-rivals HTS Middelburg [away] and Nelspruit High [home] are the ones we badly want to win.

What goals have you set for the season?
To be in the final of the Mpumalanga Macro schools competition.

Q&A with Nelspruit 1st XV coach

Q&A with Oakdale 1st XV coach

Q&A with Westville Boys' 1st XV coach

Q&A with Grey High 1st XV coach

Q&A with Marlow 1st XV coach

Q&A with Kempton Park 1st XV coach

Q&A with Outeniqua 1st XV coach

Q&A with Wynberg 1st XV coach

Q&A with Garsfontein 1st XV coach

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