It hasn’t been a great season for Jeppe’s 1st rugby team, but the school will still be sending 11 players to the various under-18 interprovincial weeks during the holidays, and a further 14 to the under-16 weeks.
That shows, according to 1st team coach, Carl Spilhaus, that the quality of players at the school is high, and that Jeppe boys are held in high regard by the selectors from the other schools.
“There are many reasons why the team hasn’t been firing this year,” he said, “but the one thing you can’t fault is the physicality and commitment of the individual players. That’s what the selectors have recognised and it’s a big compliment to the school that we have one of the biggest representations from a single school in the Golden Lions teams.”
Spilhaus, who will coach the Golden Lions team at the Coca-Cola Craven Week, is confident that, in a different environment, the boys will come into their own, and that’s a good thing for the future.
Kegan Litchfield and Muzi Manyike, the two Jeppe boys going to the Craven Week, are both in grade 11, so they will be eligible for the Jeppe team against next year. “It’s that kind of experience that forms the basis for a good season, and it’s something we were lacking this year,” Spilhaus said.
There are a further three Jeppe players in the Academy Week team (the Golden Lions B side) and two more in the Academy XV – a C side chosen this year because the Lions union is hosting the Craven and Academy Weeks.
There are two Jeppe representatives in the under-18 Welpies team – an under-19 team that will play in a regional tournament in Potchefstroom.
Jeppe’s under-16 team has been one of the best around this season and that is reflected in the selection of no fewer than 14 players for provincial teams. There are 9 players in the A side that will be playing at the Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week; 4 in the team for the under-16 Academy Week; and two in the under-16 Welpie team.
Jeppe teachers is also well represented in the coaching and management of the Provincial teams. Spilhaus is the under-18A coach, his assistant is Reg Hammond and Brendan Gittins is the team’s video analyst. Janse van der Ryst is the head coach of the under-16A team.
The under-18 Craven and Academy Weeks run concurrently at St Stithians College from July 17 to 22.
The under-16 Grant Khomo Week is at Grey College in Bloemfontein from July 10 to 14.