On a beautiful Autumn’s morning, the boys took on the might of the Rondebsoch u15A team, who previously had decimated Paarl Gym by 30 odd points. From the outset things looked hopelessly against the team, they were apparently bigger than us, faster than us and stronger than us, and based on last years results…. they were much better than us.
However, the boys have been training hard working to get the game plan in action and in my mind were ready for the challenge that lay ahead. This team is no longer the same team from last year, they are more confident, more positive and they now play with pride and passion. Together with these vital ingredients, they are better equipped to play the game with a sound defensive strategy and an attacking game plan. All that is needed for them to progress every week is for them to play hard and enact the structure. And this they did in the first half, apart from letting in two soft tries, they were definitely playing with some serious passion, and were 100% up for the game. I cannot fault one player on their desire to play, and to play well, they all tried hard and it showed. I was proud of the way they went about the game. I’m sure the boys would agree with me, that Bosch were not 26 points better than us. They deserved to win, but not by such a margin.
However, with all the planning the coaches have put in, you just cannot plan to lose such influential players in such a game. To lose the team captain, lineout captain and 8th man, Ruairi Walker as well as the flyhalf, Jono Field seriously put a dent in the way the team could have played. This shifted momentum in Rondebosch’s favour, as we now struggled in the lineouts because the replacement for Ruairi was not used to the calls, this of course is no fault on him, but things can not be planned for sometimes. I am not using the injuries an an excuse for the loss, but when your dealing with a team low on confidence, these things affect them enormously.
The team did stand up for a while, fighting to the last minute, trying to get back into the game, but with no lineout ball, the backline never got go forward ball, and this resulted in us trying to throw 50-50 passes or getting turned over in the tackle.
By the end of the match, the boys were just far too tired to keep defending, as that is all they pretty much did the whole game, and tries were leaked, where they would not have been in the first half. But I must say the defence was impressive in the first half, with quite a few 2-3 man tackles as well as stopping Bosch’s big forwards in their tracks. I was immensely proud of how the team stood up against these big boys, they did not let them run an inch forward, and for me this is the biggest positive from the match. The boys played as a team, and worked together taking down players bigger than themselves. This bodes well for the upcoming matches. The team need not fear anyone, because Together, Everyone, Achieves, More. It’s a fact and one that I know this team will carry forward into the future.
The other positive was the scrum, the pack scrummed very well, forcing Bosch backwards a few times. This is satisfying as the team has been working hard on the scrum, and with a new loosehead, it is going very well.
I must mention Brandon as well, for his improved aggressiveness in the tackle, this is something he did not have before Mondays practice and now he is enacting exactly what I wanted.
To me it is more important that each and every individual improves with every game, because at the end of the day that is what is more important in the junior age groups. Yes a win would have been nice, but what I see is that this team is being tested… how much can they take, how much are they willing to take, how tough are they? This is all being asked of them to see if they are worthy enough of turning the team into one that deserves to win the close matches.
In the beginning of the year I thought that the team just had to become a team in the true sense of the word to be successful, but as we go onward, I see that it will be a lot more difficult than that. Every team goes through a rough patch, and this team is no different, they have had a hard first year in high school, and it seems a challenging 2nd year. The more they can take and stand up again to fight another day, will ensure every player in the team become tough sportsmen and people.
As we all know life is hard, but it’s the challenges that define whether we become a success or failure.
I know this team has the guts to push through any challenges that present themselves, the question is however…
Are they willing to fight through them as a team or as individuals?
The closer they become, the more successful they will be.
This is a journey as I have said and I will keep repeating it, it’s a struggle to get to the top, but one that I am willing to fight with 15 serious rugby players, are they?