Cape Town - The U18 Craven Week and Academy Week players were treated to a special motivational talk on Wednesday by the Springbok, Springbok Sevens and Junior Springbok coaches in a memorable evening at the SA Rugby Youth Weeks.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee, Springbok Sevens coach Neil Powell and Junior Springbok coach Chean Roux took time out of their busy schedules to talk to the players about what it requires to reach the pinnacle of the sport after keeping an eye on the action at St Stithians College earlier in the day.
All three coaches emphasised the importance of hard work and commitment to the cause to progress through the national structures, and wished the players luck for their remaining matches.
“As Youth Week players you have to understand what brought you here,” Coetzee told the players. “It doesn’t mean that the higher you progress in the sport the easier it becomes, it actually becomes tougher.
“Don’t wait for the coaches and teachers to tell you to keep raising the bar, and remember that when a team plays well, every individual in the team performs. So you as an individual you has to add to the team’s success.”
Coetzee mentioned Stormers and Junior Springbok back Damian Willemse as an example of a player that made the step-up this year and said: “Only last year Damian Willemse was sitting here and he is now playing for the Stormers. In the last few months he rubbed shoulders with more experienced players, and he had to become a better player, and he managed to do that to get to where he is.”
Powell touched on team culture and said: “There are a few things that are vital to one’s success as a player, and one of those is fitting into the team culture, and with that comes discipline.
“Whenever we get guys into our system they have to fit into the team culture no matter how talented they are. That lays the foundation for any successful system. Talent will only take you so far, but hard work takes you further.”
Roux built on this and said: “At the SA U20s we don’t talk about culture, we talk about a legacy. There are four things we look at, and that is being on time, cleaning up behind one’s self, respect by greeting everyone and saying thank you, and lastly to sharpen the sword after sessions by doing extra work.
"If you tick those boxes, the chances of you advancing to the national teams will be so much easier.”
The U18 Youth Weeks will continue on Thursday, and will conclude on Saturday after a well-deserved rest for the players on Friday.