Proud of ‘Green Machine’

2014-08-19 00:00

RUDI Dames can stand and survey the hallowed Dixon’s turf at Glenwood High School a proud man.

The field is home to the school’s “Green Machine” 1st rugby team, and this season was Dames’s first as head coach of the side.

He had been assistant coach for nine years, and stepping up a rung in the ladder saw his stress levels reach new heights.

“I really felt the change, and the pressure was far greater,” said Dames. “I used to tell the head coaches not to worry, that all was well every time we went into a match, but little did I know.”

Dames has been involved in rugby coaching at Glenwood since 2003, and took over from Sean Erasmus. He is 99% finished with his level 3 coaching — the highest a coach can achieve.

“I may have the coaching skills, but it’s the team, the players and my assistants who make it count on the field and on the day,” said Dames. “We have a superb conditioning coach, and Mike Vowles is a blessing as assistant coach.”

With 12 Craven Week players, as well as the SA Schools captain coming from Glenwood, Dames clearly has the right mix in the tank to succeed on the rugby field.

“We originally had two SA Schools players (Morné Joubert and Jaco Coetzee), but prop Kenny van Niekerk has been called up as an injury replacement. A record of 19 matches played, 15 won and four lost needs no explanation.

“I am proud of the boys, and the team has been incredible to work with. At the beginning of the season, we set our goals, and we have achieved them through unity, belief, pride, passion and commitment.”

Those goals were for Glenwood to be undefeated in KwaZulu-Natal and to be ranked in the top 10 in the country.

“There were some close calls in some of our matches, but on our day, when it went our way and the ball bounced for us, we were unstoppable,” said Dames. “Rankings are always debatable, but according to the SA School Sports website, we are eighth on the top 100 list.”

Mission accomplished for Dames, who, in his own quiet way, gives the credit to the team at the end of the day.

“The team, the players — they are the ones who make it happen. On match day, I am on the sidelines. I cannot play for them, yet they never give up and play for the school with pride.

“These are young men who were mature enough to know what they wanted and the effort required to achieve it. We trained daily, and when gym sessions had to be done at 5.45 am, the guys were there, never missing, never moaning.”

Besides Craven Week and SA School accolades, most of this year’s Glenwood 1st team players have been offered contracts next year by the Sharks, Lions, Bulls and Western Province.

“That means a great deal to me,” said Dames. “It allows the boys the opportunity to take their rugby further. They have sown the seeds, and now have the chance to blossom. Long may it continue.”

Factfile

• Went to school in Vereeniging with Bakkies Botha

• Played Craven Week for two years

• Made the 1999 SA Schools side at scrumhalf

• Played Vodacom Cup for the Leopards in 2000

• Has played for the Sharks U21 and Vodacom Cup sides

• Was in the Sharks 2006 Currie Cup squad

• Played for Nice in France for two seasons

• A knee injury forced his decision to focus on coaching

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