Kearsney College director of rugby Keith Thompson is quietly confident going into the 2010 Kearsney College Easter festival.
This year’s draw is a baptism of fire for Kearsney; they will have their work cut out for them in clashes against the KwaZulu-Natal development side, top ranked Grey College, and E.G. Jansen over the three day festival.
‘Playing against teams that are highly ranked [Grey and E.G. Jansen] allows us to benchmark ourselves, and get a gauge of where we are as a team. I think you need to test yourself against the best,’ Thompson told keo.co.za. ‘We’re expecting tough rugby.’
Pre-season preparation has been limited by the school cricket season, with Kearsney’s first pre-season match being this coming Saturday. Thus far in the hosts’ build-up, much emphasis has been placed on conditioning and player fitness, but Kearsney will be out for as much game time as possible leading into the 1 April festival opener.
Thompson is certain this won’t impact their festival performance.
‘We have plenty of players coming back this year, and have a good balance. That lends a lot of experience to our side, and that’s an advantage, especially early on.’
Among 10 returning players, the likes of Warren Seals (flyhalf), Andrew Holland (outside centre) and Julian Strauss (tighthead prop) – all of whom have provincial experience for KwaZulu Natal Academy – will undoubtedly be expected to play leadership roles.
The hosts are a settled, experienced unit, and should prove tough competition for upper-ranked sides this season. Thompson makes no apologies in admitting their potential to stun the big names.
‘I think we’re definitely capable of a few upsets this season.’
By Rory Keohane