Craven Week: KZN are coming right — coach

2010-07-06 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal head coach at the U18 Craven Week rugby tournament is reasonably satisfied with the team’s performance.

KZN beat Mpumalanga Pumas and lost narrowly to top team Free State before going down in what was effectively the third/fourth place play-off against Boland.

Tony Richter, who also coaches Hilton College first team, told The Witness yesterday there were a number of disadvantages going into Craven Week.

“No excuses, but it’s worth bearing in mind the team didn’t even have a proper practice match due to the shortened second school term and fixture congestion that prevented participation in warm-up matches against Mpumalanga and the likes of the Lions.”

Richter believes the province is getting things right. “Selections have got better,” he said, while KZN are playing in the spotlight more often.

The coach said KZN school first team rugby has become more demanding, more professional. “Pre-season training ensures the teams are well prepared, and physically the intensity is huge, with collisions on the field massive,” he said. “Every match is like a Test match now; there are no easy games and this year the fancied sides have been regularly upset by the underdogs, which is wonderful.

“I think the difference now is that boys are looking at rugby as a possible career. Academy and varsity talent scouts are looking for quality players, which means the fortunate could have their tertiary studies paid for.

“And the youngsters see players like Patrick Lambie, two years out of school, starring for the Sharks and flying all over the world. That’s mind-boggling.”

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