Trials for budding rugby stars

A group of selected under-12 and under-13 rugby players from primary schools across Mitchell’s Plain took part in a training session, at Cornflower Primary, in Lentegeur, last Friday. The budding players were put through their paces under the watchful eye of Mitchell’s Plain schools’ zonal convenor Brian Meyer and a team of coaches from Collegians Rugby Club and women’s coach Jeanette Bailey, from Portland, ahead of their regional trials to be held at Hamilton RFC’s home ground in Green Point this week. Bailey has been involved with promoting the game among girls for a number of years and has a fair amount of experience working with younger players. She reminded the budding players that individual success relies on the team’s success.

Mitchell’s Plain schools rugby zonal co-ordinator, Brian Meyer. Picture: Fuad Esack

“There are 15 players on the team but only one player can get the ball over their opponent’s tryline, ” she told the youngsters during a pep talk following Friday’s training session.

“Who helps him get it over,” she asked to which they all replied in unison, “the team”. Lesson learnt.

Coach Jeanette Bailey guides the youngsters through their paces during last Friday’s training session at Cornflower Primary. Picture: Fuad Esack

Meyer said the selected players will form the Mitchell’s Plain zonal side to face a team from the Nyanga zone at the regionals.

Cruz Frans barking instructions during last Friday’s session. Picture: Fuad Esack

“What happened today is we prepared the boys for next week’s trials, working on their ball handling skills and fitness level to participate in the next level of the Western Province rugby trials,” said Meyer.

“We looked at certain aspects of the game, with the ball skills and also on defence, line-outs and set pieces, to give them an idea of what to expect and to also prepare them mentally and physically for the game,” he said.

Collegians RFC under-12 and under-13 coach, Iekeraam Petersen, is used to working with youngsters. Picture: Fuad Esack

Collegians RFC junior convenor, Sedick Matthews, was on hand to lend support. “Today we were assisting the Mitchell’s Plain zonal team with some coaching drills, team set-ups and so on just to improve them for their upcoming trials.”

Fellow club member Iekeraam Petersen, who works with players in the same age group as the youngsters out on the field, said he enjoyed Friday’s session. “We got them focused on their positions, worked on a bit of their weaknesses and capitalised a bit on their strong points. We had a good session and I’m very proud of the boys who made it,” he said.

“My only request to them is to work hard and to make the most of the opportunity.”

Mitchell’s Plain women’s rugby coach, Jeanette Bailey, makes a point during last Friday’s training session. Picture: Fuad Esack

The facility at Cornflower Primary is part of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s MOD hubs which aims to provide school-going youth with access to various play-based activities, said Lentegeur High School MOD centre manager Ebrahim Barnes, who also oversees programmes at Cornflower.

Lentegeur High School MOD centre manager Ebrahim Barnes and Cornflower Primary School physical education coach. Picture: Fuad Esack

Although based at the high school, Barnes works closely with Meyer and the Mitchell’s Plain Primary Schools’ rugby zone’s convening committee.

“So I invited Brian and the rugby kids of the zone to have their training session in our holiday programme because they don’t have a facility to practice,” he said.

From left, Rashieda Isaacs, whose son Iemaad, a pupil at Yellowwood Primary School, took part in last Friday’s training session at Cornflower. She is pictured with Salih Adams and Noor Isaacs. Picture: Fuad Esack
Collegians’ Sedick Matthews keeps an eye on the youngsters at last Friday’s training session. Picture: Fuad Esack