Plumstead High School pupil, Jordan Ward, 18, from Ottery, will look to motivate his under-18 rugby team mates after his side lost 24-5 to arch-rivals Norman Henshilwood High, at the weekend.
The Grade 11 pupil said their opposition did well to capitalise on their opportunities and that the third try is what sunk their ship in a Western Province 2A league match.
On the day, Plumstead’s under-14, under-15 and under-18 teams clashed with Norman Henshilwood. The under-14 and 15s beat Normies 14-7 and 24-0, respectively.
Ahead of the game, Ward’s coach Neville Foster, said he had hoped the players would click and pull it together in their derby clash, but things did not go according to plan for the boys in red and green.
The fly-half said he only started playing rugby three years ago and that he has adapted quickly to the sport and enjoys the physicality the game offers.
“We got off to a good start against Normies and did well in the first half. But everything fell apart for us in the second half and that’s where we lost the game,” said Ward.
“We stopped playing as a team after that third try.
“Our coach always encourages us to play as a team and that wasn’t happening. Normies are our biggest rivals in both rugby and soccer, so this loss is a bitter pill to swallow,” he said.
Ward also plays for the school’s soccer first team and is a member of Stephanian Ottery FC’s under-18 team who compete in the Cape District Football Association (CDFA).
The midfielder first laced up for Lansdowne FC as a 12 year old before making his way to Plumstead Academy and finally Stephs – where he’s been for the last three seasons.
Meanwhile, Foster said they went into the Normies derby hoping to implement their own style of play.
“We’ve always had a close rivalry with them. This was the first game we played against them this year, and we usually play a friendly pre-season match,” said Foster.
“It’s always difficult to assess school opposition because the team dynamics change every year.
“But, I know their coach Mogamat Jakoet very well and predicted he would instruct his players to play the ball up with the forwards and swing it out wide.
“Before the game I told the boys to look to tackle up front with the forwards before we change our tactics. But, things just didn’t go our way on the day.
“We created our chances but we never took it, and they punished us when they had theirs.
“The half-time score was 5-5 so we still had a good chance going into the break, but they were the better team and ran away with it,” he said.
Last week, Plumstead High hosted English touring side Calday Grange Grammer School, but lost 37-5 to a very physical team.
Foster, who has an abundance of rugby experience under his belt, said the boys are going through a rough patch and they need to keep their heads.
“I’ve been involved in the sport for many years. I played under Nick Mallett when I was at False Bay RFC.
“I’ve been at the school for the past 12 years and got involved because my sons attended the school,” said Foster.
“It’s difficult to build and have a consistent first team because every year the team changes.
“We are trying to develop some of the younger players and play them earlier in the first team, but it’s tough in the under-18 league because it’s very physical.
“There have been years when we’ve done really well. For next year, we will start the pre-season early and try to bulk up the current under-16 players because they are all very small,” he said.
Plumstead High’s first team have no fixture scheduled for this weekend, and will look to take full advantage of this as they regroup to face Scottsville High, next weekend.