Rugby Report 2022
Head of Rugby Report 2022
As the curtain fell on our first full schoolboy rugby season since 2019 it was important to remind ourselves of what was missed due to the Covid Pandemic so that we can appreciate the privilege of once again watching our boys competing against other schools on the rugby field on a Saturday morning.
Sport (and rugby in particular), teaches our boys so many valuable life lessons. It’s about sportsmanship and respect. It’s about manners and loyalty. It’s about humility and work ethic. It’s about guts and determination. It builds resilience. It tests and grows your character. It’s such a massive part of the educational process at a school like SACS
SACS Rugby is steeped in history and tradition. The University of Cape Town (UCT) grew from SACS and to this day we still have close ties and share the same jersey. SACS gave WP Rugby its blue and white hoops. SACS has produced 29 Springboks which is the 4th most of all the schools in the country. SACS Rugby is a brand to be proud of and to cherish.
To leverage your brand in the modern world it’s important to have a vibrant, current, content driven online presence which has been our goal since the beginning of the year. The SACS Rugby website was revamped to better represent our brand and provides up-to-date information around fixtures, match day programmes and results. Weekly match day photo galleries were also uploaded to the website which has been a welcome addition to our offering. Mr Stephen Symons put huge effort into this department throughout the season and must be thanked for his massive contribution.
Our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are another area of focus with regard to growing our brand. Mr Van Selm continues to do great work in this area, providing SACS Rugby supporters with a steady stream of relevant content throughout the year.
Something that is very important to SACS Rugby is how we host opposition schools on match days. The goal is for our visitors to walk away with a good feeling after a day spent on the SACS campus. Staff and dignitaries are treated to early morning tea/coffee/snacks in the newly enclosed rugby pavilion and later hosted in the Whiteford Pavilion for the after-match function. The catering is second to none and I’d like to thank Mrs Zahn Cilliers for her efficient service and the outstanding quality of her food. Thank you also to Mr Kleynhans and his partner Wendy for the part they played during the season.
Mr Garbers was always on hand to assist me with stock takes and orders for the Whiteford Pavilion bar and Mr Botha ensured there were always staff at the ready to hand out refreshments to thirsty coaches at the post match function. A huge thank you to everyone that refereed matches, did duty as linesmen and filmed games. It is very much appreciated!
Our First Aid team is phenomenal. Mrs Parker and her crew are renowned for the special care and attention given to those who sustain injuries and I know it is most appreciated by both our SACS parents and those of opposition schools. Thank you for your contribution on match days and practice days as well.
Our dedicated ground staff are hard at work during the week in preparation for home games. Cutting and marking the fields, moving stands, cleaning and just generally getting the campus in mint condition to welcome visitors on a Saturday. Thank you to Mr Giliomee and Mr Barnard and your team. A job well done!
A big thank you to Mr Wepener for everything he does for SACS Rugby and in particular the work he puts into organizing fixtures and referees on top of his primary role as Head Coach of the 1st XV.
For any organization, club or team to be successful there needs to be alignment amongst its people. Thank you to Johan Redlinghuys who initially helped us redefine and re-establish our overall Vision for SACS Rugby which has given us the necessary focus to move forward as a Rugby Programme.
From the outset it was essential to build a happy, cohesive, well-aligned team of coaches and assistant coaches who all have a common goal which is to take SACS Rugby forward in the years ahead. Practical things like all our coaches using a common SACS Rugby language were introduced to ensure uniformity and continuity in the years ahead.
Various coaching Whatsapp groups were set up to improve communication between coaches and break down some barriers that might have existed in the past. Sharing of knowledge, ideas and drills was the main goal but it also provided a platform for coaches to provide moral support and encouragement to one another.
Win or lose our post-match functions were always a nice opportunity for all our coaches, regardless of age or experience, to interact and discuss life and rugby with one another. We are by no means the finished product from a coaching point of view but my ambition is to continue to foster a community of committed, loyal, knowledgeable, inspirational coaches who are more interested in the collective success of our rugby programme rather than in their own individual ambitions.
‘’Recruitment’’ is always the elephant in the room. From a schoolboy rugby point of view the word is tainted by unethical and nefarious practices of many schools around the country. Win at all costs philosophies see rugby scouts scour the country for rugby players, offering bursaries and various other incentives to lure young kids to their institution for the express purpose of winning rugby matches. It’s a numbers game and Directors of Rugby are well aware that their success depends on the talent that they have at their disposal each year.
At SACS we have decided to adopt an approach that centers around talent identification and relationship-building, preferring to market our school holistically rather than to sell ourselves as a rugby academy.
The appointment of Mr Josh Strauss at the beginning of the year has been a revelation for SACS Rugby. Despite being relatively new to coaching, Mr Strauss comes with a wealth of experience as a former professional rugby player and his engaging personality and aligned values have made him a wonderful addition to the SACS Rugby family. On top of his primary coaching responsibility with the U16A team, Josh has been instrumental in identifying talented young junior school players and establishing genuine relationships with these boys and their parents.
With his recognisable beard and non-threatening nature, Mr Strauss has given us some proper impetus around attracting quality rugby players to SACS High school in 2023 and hopefully for many years to come. We also have an exciting U13 age group from our own SACS Junior school and we are very excited to welcome the vast majority of these players to the high school next year. Mr Strauss’s coaching role will be expanded in 2023 so that his influence will extend to more than one age group and he will also assist in the development of other coaches at SACS. These are indeed exciting times for SACS Rugby!
After a successful SACS Rugby Golf Day at the end of 2021 we held another outstanding fundraising event in March of 2022 which served as our ‘Season Opener’’. The SACS Rugby Legends Evening was MC’d by Matthew Pearce and the panel featured Schalk Burger, Andre Vos, Josh Strauss, Kyle Brown, John Dobson and Scarra Ntubeni. To have people of this caliber coming together to talk rugby and tell some stories was very special and a great evening was had by all. A huge thank you to Hazel Lategan and the Percy Montgomery Foundation (PMF) for making this event such a special occasion. Thank you also to our generous event sponsors Hussar Grill and Tyson Properties.
The strength of a school’s character is tested during times of adversity. When things aren’t going so well. The early part of the season was tough for SACS Rugby as we embarked on a rebuilding journey post Covid. The way we finished after the June/July holidays was extremely positive and our boys showed heaps of character. Our boys can hold their heads up high. They can look in the mirror and like what they see.
The 1st XV earnt plenty of respect despite not having the best ‘’win record’’ this season. They played with commitment and showed pride in the jersey and their improvement over the final 5 matches of the season was great to see. Beating Bishops on their home ground was certainly the highlight of their season. The Bishops fixture was also the highlight for SACS Rugby as a whole as we won 14/15 matches on the day which is unprecedented in the history of this fixture against Bishops.
The overall showing against Rondebosch and Wynberg in the 3rd term was also very much improved from earlier in the season which bodes well for 2023. The support given by the Spirit Committee was tremendous throughout the season and it was lovely to see so many boys from our Junior school joining their older ‘’brothers’’ in support of the 1st XV each Saturday!
I would like to especially acknowledge all the PMF volunteers who give up their time on Saturday mornings to help us raise much needed funds for our rugby programme. These dedicated people arrive at 5am and leave well after 3pm and get through a mountain of work. Special mention to Mr Van Selm who drives things from the school side and also to Hazel Lategan and Grant Cooper. Grant “retires” after 9 years and 60 home games. Hopefully he can still be lured back for the odd guest appearance in the years ahead!
Our title sponsor Hussar Grill has once again gone above and beyond their sponsorship agreement. They host teams at their restaurants, sponsor events and are also a presence and support on match days. For SACS Rugby to be associated with such a fantastic brand is a privilege. Thank you to Justin Fortune and his team for the ongoing support. Hussar Grill is certainly the go-to venue for all SACS supporters. Food and service that you just can’t beat!
A final thank you to our Headmaster Mr Grant and Chairman of the SGB Mr Ashley Kantor for their support of rugby at SACS.
SACS Rugby is a big team effort. As the African Proverb says ‘’If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’’. Bring on 2023!