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‘Baby steps’ says new coach

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Brent Janse van Rensburg, the new Tafel Lager Griquas rugby coach, says he is under no illusion that tough days lie ahead

GIVE US TIME: Newly-appointed Tafel Lager Griqua coach Brent Janse van Rensburg says that his plans will probably not fall into place all at once, but that doesnt mean better times are not ahead. Picture: Danie van der Lith

Brent Janse van Rensburg, the new Tafel Lager Griquas rugby coach, says he is under no illusion that tough days lie ahead to get the programme in place that will allow players to perform consistently at a level that will achieve the performances that the team was known for in the past.

Speaking to the DFA regarding his plans for the team going into the new season, Van Rensburg said, “ I believe much can be achieved with a sound vision and the power of a made up mind.

“I am confident that with time and some resilient effort, we will get there. Keep the faith,” he added.

The new head coach has assembled an impressive array of support staff to assist him in his quest to drive Griquas to greatness. He has thus far roped in 2007 World Cup winning prop CJ van der Linde as his assistant coach to the Peacock Blues. Van der Linde is fresh from his stint as a scrum coach at French Top 14 side Montpellier.

The search for a second assistant coach will most likely be concluded long before the season kicks off in March next year. From former coach Peter Engledow staff, van Rensburg has decided to retain the services of Benedict Chanakira, who will continue as performance analyst for the squad; Dr Desmond Pilane, who will stay on as team doctor; and Jacqueline Kriel will still be the physiotherapist.

Other than that van Rensburg will retain most of the structure needed for an efficiently functioning team such as a performance conditioner Jacques du Toit, biokineticist Ansone Olivier and performance coach Tim Goodenough.

“We will bring in Tim Goodenough as a high performance coach to help the players holistically, to rid them of the interferences that hinder professional sportsmen from playing to their potential. I feel this is an area which many teams neglect,” Van Rensburg said.

Van Rensburg cautioned though that it will be a case of baby steps for a while, till the team settles into their new regimen. “We are currently in a rebuilding phase of the team with some new staff, players and also a fair amount of our players not being in Kimberley, who are currently either plying their trade in the Pro 14 tournament or preparing for the Varsity Cup.

“The players that are currently away on loan will arrive near to the start of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge competition,” he said.

“This is obviously not ideal,” the coach quickly added. “As we aren’t able to prepare for the competition with our full player group, and have them part of our current periodization.

However, it is necessary to afford our players the opportunity to play elsewhere for now and it also provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our squad depth slightly with funds saved, which will be needed for later in the year when we move into the Premier Currie Cup competition.”

Van Rensburg said he is focused on implementing a three-year plan in order to afford the programme the time needed to reach its full potential and optimal efficiency in a sustainable manner.

But his plans don’t stop there.

“Our next focus is on our medical and conditioning departments which has seen an investment into upgrading our gym so that we can train in a manner that compliments the modern way of developing athletes for high performance,” the coach explained.

“The in game demands these days on players are very high, with ball-in-play times remaining unchanged; however, the intensity at which one must be able to execute skill under pressure and fatigue is higher.

“Our conditioning programme is currently focused on building the foundation upon which we can develop our players appropriately in a step-loaded process so that their bodies can cope with the these demands without breaking down.

“It will take some time to develop robust athletes that reach their full potential, as athlete development is a year-on-year process, but I feel we are on the right track and we will improve,” Van Rensburg added.