‘Expect EP to play differently’

Keo.co.za talks to Eastern Province U18 coach Gerrit Pienaar about this year’s Craven Week.

Which school has the most players in the EP side and has that school been the best performer in the province?
Grey PE has seven players, and they played very well leading up to the team’s selection.

How many players from last year’s Craven Week team feature in this year’s team?
We have two players who are back with us again: Justin Benn [flanker, Daniel Pienaar] and Stephan Zaaiman [eighthman, Framesby].

Who are your key players?
Benn, Zaaiman and Selwyn Davids [winger, Nico Malan]. Benn hits the rucks very well and is a matured flanker. Zaaiman is a big player in our side – he carries the team and makes crucial decisions. Davids is a very skillful player and he steps very well.

Who is your captain, and why did you give him the responsibility?
The selectors chose Benn, which must have to do with the fact that he has Craven Week experience. I’m happy with their decision because he’s a good leader and plays an integral role in the team.

What are EP’s biggest strengths?
We have a lot of pace, which is important, and our forwards are very mobile.

EP take on the Lions in their opening game. What threat will they pose?
They’re a good side. They have a big pack of forwards and a lot of their players come from Monument Park High, who are a very good side.

Will the approach of the team change this year?
Expect EP to play differently this year. This is my first year in charge as head coach, and I have a different approach to the game.

Which teams do you think will give your team a hard time?
The Blue Bulls, Free State, and Western Province are very, very good sides.

What are your coaching ambitions?
I have been coaching the youth team for some time now and I would like to coach my way up to the senior team. After this, I’d like to be a part of the U19 side, and then work my way up to the senior team.

By Soyiso Maliti