Schoolboy Spotlight Q&A: Stephan Coetzee gets to know the Paarl Boys and WP Craven Week captain.

What’s been the highlight of your rugby career?
This year’s Craven Week will be special. I made the WP Academy side last year, so to make the step up [and captain] the Craven Week side is a privilege.

What’s it like captaining the side?
I think it will bring out the best in me. We have a great bunch of guys, and everyone listens which makes my job easier. As a hooker, I’m always involved in the game, which helps.

What are the strengths of your game?
I enjoy running with ball in hand and getting over the advantage line, but I focus most of my attention on my scrumming and lineout work. I train hard to make sure I do well in the set pieces.

What do you need to work on?
I’m aiming to spend more time in the gym and develop more speed, which I think would help add another dimension to my game.

Did you always want to play hooker?
I’ve played hooker all the way through high school. Before that I played flank and eighthman, but I’m glad I made the change. It’s the right position for me.

Who’s your toughest opponent?
Affies [who Paarl Boy's beat 13-8 at the Super Schools tournament] was a big game on both a personal level and as a team. It was a big physical battle. Affies are strong and fast and we really had to grind it out against them.

Are there any players you want to emulate?
I think you can draw from a lot of players. Quade Cooper and Dan Carter have flair, which every player wants, and I think John Smit is a great role model in terms of his leadership. But as a hooker, I’d say Schalk Brits and Bismarck du Plessis are my inspirations. Du Plessis has a great physical approach, whereas Britz is light-footed and versatile, which is something I’m working on.

What are your future ambitions?
I’ll definitely play rugby after school, but I have plans to study. Attending Stellenbosch University would allow me to do both, but I’ll give it more thought closer to the time. At the moment, my goals are to perform well at Craven Week and hopefully make SA Schools. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

By Rory Keohane