Wynberg have had a rough few weeks, but believe they can be competitive at home against Paarl Gym on Saturday if they get the basics right.
After an outstanding 2009 season that saw them finish 11th on the FNB Top 20 schools rankings, the Cape Town school has had a disappointing 2010 so far.
‘We have struggled this year, particularly with injuries to key players,’ said Wynberg’s 1st XV coach Jerry Posthumus. ‘We came up against a red-hot Grey PE team [they lost 63-12] and lost a tight one to Duineveldt [16-10].’
But Posthumus insists there are lessons to be learnt after such losses.
‘Obviously we’ve got a lot to work on defensively, but I think a key point to improve on is our patience with ball in hand,’ he said. ‘We need to retain the ball for longer periods and play out the phases.’
In 2009, Wynberg upstaged Gimmies 15-10 in Paarl, but with 12 players missing from last year’s squad and injury woes, toppling the in-form Paarl Gym side for the second year running won’t be easy.
‘We had to start from scratch this season as only three players from last year’s side returned,’ said Posthumus. ‘And with four big injuries [including three of the returning players] in pivotal positions, we’re relying on the youngsters to play with cool heads.’
The absence of experienced players Dylan Frylinck (fullback), Zingisa Ndiki (wing) and Ayanda Hess (eighthman) as well as Dalton Kannemeyer (flyhalf) has left the Wynberg side worse for wear, but Posthumus believes it provides an opportunity for the fresh faces to step up.
‘This is a rebuilding stage for the side, so the experience gained by the youngsters will be wholly beneficial given time,’ he said. ‘It’s their chance to fill the big boots of last year’s players and make the positions their own. If we get the basics right there’s no reason we can’t put up a fight on Saturday.’
Given that they take on the trifecta of Western Cape schools in the coming weeks (Bishops, Rondebosch and SACS), the Wynberg faithful will hope they find their feet sooner rather than later.
By Rory Keohane