All not lost for KZN

2014-07-22 00:00

One win from three games may not seem a campaign to remember, but a closer look reveals all is not lost.

That’s how the KZN side performed at this year’s U18 Craven Week in Middelburg last week, finding the going tough on the highveld.

On paper, the side looked balanced. The powerhouse of KZN schoolboy rugby, Glenwood, were well represented, but the rugby on offer was tough and physical.

Coach Barend Steyn from Kearsney College, reflected on the team and the matches played last week.

“Although this is schoolboy rugby, it is tough and competitive,” he said. “It’s played at another level and mistakes, not matter how minor, prove costly. This is something the boys need to adapt to. It’s hard for them coming up against stronger, physical sides.”

The boys played three matches, losing 13-18 to South Western Districts, beating the Pumas 38-27 and going down to the Bulls 36-15 on the final day.

“That first match was key. We were expecting to win against SWD and we lost that game rather than the opposition winning it,” said Steyn. “We never played to our structure but we bounced back and got stuck in against the Pumas.”

Defence was an issue for Steyn.

“The stats show we gave away more tries than we scored. Matches cannot be won by scoring a try and then giving away soft ones to the opposition,” he said.

Physicality was another area that rocked the team.

“Those teams from up country play at a different level to what we are used to in KZN,” said Steyn. “Our boys are not used to it. In our last match, against the Bulls, one of our locks was playing centre at the end — such was the extent of our injuries.”

Westville Boys’ High School’s Grant Bell was the team’s backline coach, his first involvement at Craven Week level.

“For me, the biggest area of concern was not being game-ready,” he said. “

Some teams had played four warm-up matches and we only had two, which were played a while before the week. However, the boys were prepared the best they could be and there was no lack of trying.”

Watching from the sidelines, Bell highlighted basic skills as the difference between winning and losing.

The KZN boys earned a place in the main curtain-raiser to the unofficial final between SWD and Eastern Province. This indicates they were one of the recognised sides, playing the kind of rugby that most impressed the scouts and coaches.

KZN Craven Week Results:

KZN 13 SWD 18

KZN 38 Pumas 27

KZN 15 Bulls 36.

Key Areas of Concern for KZN

Defence: Converting possession and territory into points

Be more prepared to know what’s coming

Physicality: Realise this level is a step up from what players are used to

Less mistakes: More warm-up matches

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