Paul Roos won all three of their matches at the St John’s Easter Festival but their coach believes their best is still to come.
While the Stellenbosch side overcame Jeppe 26-15, the Lions XV 49-0 and Pretoria Boys 29-0, 1st XV coach Stefan Jordaan wasn’t totally satisfied.
‘We conceded too many penalties against Jeppe, particularly at scrum time, and we made too many handling errors in general play,’ he told keo.co.za. ‘But each game was a step forward, and our win over Pretoria Boys saw a marked improvement. Given that we weren’t at our best over the three days, those wins are a good sign. Our lineout is improving along with continuity in the backline.’
The festival saw the return of Craig Barry at fullback from a seven-month absence due to shoulder surgery, and Jordaan admits he had doubts about playing him.
‘It was his first contact game after a long absence, but he fitted in well. Along with [flyhalf] Errol Jaggers and [centre] Tshotsho Mbovane he was instrumental to our success. The three of them carried the ball well and really took it to the opposition.’
Paul Roos host Grey High on 17 April, and will need to be on top form to put one past the PE powerhouse.
‘We try not to worry about the opposition and rather focus on our own game,’ said Jordaan. ‘We have a well-rounded team, with strong forwards and exciting backs, so we’ll do our best to be on the right side of the scoreline. We’re taking it one game at a time, and our aim is to play attractive, clinical rugby.’
Jordaan says victory will depend on the efforts of the match 22 and not just the starting XV.
‘With tough matches against Grey PE and Affies [their first clash at the Wildeklawer SuperSchools tournament] to come, depth will be crucial. I’m happy with the strength of our squad, but we’ve got to keep everyone conditioned and give them game time.’
By Rory Keohane