Grey Bloem end on a high

Grey Bloem ended their 2012 season with a 33-23 victory over Paul Roos last Saturday.

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While the schoolboys from Bloemfontein only lost three matches and were unbeaten at home this season, it was their worst 1st XV run in six years.

Their defeat to Paarl Gym at the Kearsney Easter Festival was their first loss in three years (they lost 9-3 to Paul Roos in 2009), and also lost to Affies and Paarl Boys’ thereafter. The last time Grey Bloem lost three games in one year was in 2006.

That was the same year current 1st XV head coach Ingo Machts took over the reigns.

‘Every team goes through a rough patch … it’s impossible to dominate every season,’ Machts told keo.co.za’s Schoolboy Derby. ‘I was very happy with our win over Paul Roos, who can beat any of the top South African schools on their day. They had an inconsistent season, but they’re still a quality outfit.

‘We lost concentration when we held a 30-9 lead in the second half and Paul Roos came back well, but it was still a good finish to a tough season.’

Machts has had a successful tenure as Grey Bloem 1st XV head coach. He’s been in charge of the side since 2006. During this time, 123 matches have been played and they have only suffered seven defeats. That’s a winning percentage of 95%. He is also the team manager of the Free State U21 squad.

Machts believes Grey Bloem will become a dominant force in 2014.

‘The big positive is that seven boys of this year’s 1st XV will be available next year. So there will be some continuity and we should have a better season in 2013. But we are going through a rebuilding phase and I think we will be a strong team within two years time.’

By Gareth Duncan