Keo.co.za talks to KwaZulu-Natal U18 coach Barend Steyn about this year’s Craven Week.
Which school has the most players in the KZN squad and have they been the best performers this year?
Glenwood has the most with nine, followed by Kearsney with five. Both of those sides have played well this season.
How many players from last year’s Craven Week team are in this year’s team?
There’s only two players: Neil Oelofse [loosehead prop, Glenwood] and Mmembe Payi [fullback, DHS].
Are there any players that you think could go on to play professional rugby in your team?
There’s a whole bunch of talent here – not only in this team, but in the province as a whole.
Who is your captain and why did you give him the responsibility?
Stephen Ungerer [scrumhalf, Maritzburg College]. He’s a good player and leader.
Who will be your key players at Craven Week?
Ungerer, Robert du Preez [flyhalf, Kearsney College], Jacques Taylor [hooker, Glenwood], Oelofse and Payi. The entire team has talent, but those are exceptional players. Ungerer, with the talent he has, can go far.
What are the strengths of your team?
I think we’re quite good in the backline positions. We’re also quite mobile.
KZN play WP in their opening game. What threat will they pose?
WP are one of the favourites. They should have a very decent pack of forwards. We are going to have to get stuck into them.
KZN didn’t perform very well in the tournament last year. What can be done to achieve better results this year?
Well, it’s my first year as head coach. We ended up fourth last year. Obviously we’ll be going up against big guns – some of who are unbeaten. If we go higher than the fourth position, we’ll have done very well.
Which teams do you expect to give your team a hard time?
WP, Free State, the Lions and Blue Bulls. They seem to have the same standard of talent every year.
What are your coaching ambitions?
Well, I’m a teacher now, but two years after this … who knows? Maybe I could get a Sharks or even a Stormers’ coaching position.
By Soyiso Maliti