I write this post as a staunch school boy rugby supporter of over 20 years, a parent of a former 1stXV rugby player and someone who has always supported SACS through thick and thin. In 20 years I have seen it all. I have seen 1stXV’s beat Paul Roos, Paarl Gym , Boishaai and Boland Landbou and I have seen 1stXV’s lose to Strand, Brackenfell, De Kuilen, Bellville High and Tygerberg. I have seen teams win games against the odds and I have seen teams lose games to far lesser teams in the league. I have seen talented teams compete against the big guns and teams with very little talent struggle and succumb even against the minnows. It has always been this way.
You have good years and you have bad years, you have talented players and some years you don’t, you have fiercely committed players (sometimes without huge talent) and sometimes you have players who just don’t have what it takes.
The point I’m trying to make is that school boy rugby is cyclical. I watched SACS 1st XV play its final game against Wynberg in 2013. SACS were desperately unlucky not to win and played with real pride and passion. Despite losing they were a credit to their school. They had plenty of very talented players as well. On that day there was one Grade 11 in the team and he was the wing if I’m not mistaken?
After 3 relatively successful years under the current coaches, 2014 was always going to be a rebuilding year. It is maybe worth having a look at the new group of players entrusted to wear the jersey in 2014.
The matric boys or ‘senior players’ in the squad didn’t win a game when they were U16. The Grade 11 boys fared only marginally better when they were U16 last season. When combined, it is surely not surprising that the 1 st XV is struggling a bit this season? As far as I know SACS don’t ‘buy’ players into Grade 11 and 12 so the players we have are the players we have…for better or for worse! To start playing the blame game is shortsighted and no help to anybody. The coaches have an exceedingly tough job getting the best out of these boys and the boys probably have it even tougher competing in this very tough Western Province Premier Schools League.
People are quick to forget that it was only 5 years ago when Wynberg lost by over 100 points at home to Paarl Gym. Look where they are now! Bishops are just coming out of one of the worst periods in their rich rugby history. Losses by over 80 points to Boishaai, 5 losses in a row to SACS and Wynberg etc etc.
As predicted, they are rising again in 2014! Rondebosch are also in a rebuilding phase. A great rugby school with far superior rugby results than SACS throughout history have just 3 wins out of 10 games in 2014. They conceded 59 points against Wynberg at home. Lost to Piketberg of all teams! And now most recently, a loss to SACS who remarkably managed to bounce back after their big defeat to Bishops the week before. Rondebosch will weather the storm and they will be back in 2015 and beyond, of that you can be certain! As will SACS. Just have a look at their U14A, U15A and U16A results so far this year.
Schoolboy rugby is a cycle so hang in there in the tough times and pop the champagne and celebrate when its going well!