Scholtz promotes young guns
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Shimlas head coach Hendro Scholtz enters uncharted territory as he heads into the Varsity Cup season with a younger looking squad. Tauriq Ebrahim reports.
Shimlas have had the luxury of fielding a fairly experienced squad for the past two seasons but that cycle has now come to an end, with a number of players making the step up into the Cheetahs environment.
This has prompted Scholtz to promote numerous players who participated in the 2015 and 2016 Young Guns competition.
"We have quite a young squad this year as some of our senior players have been drafted into the Cheetahs setup and it was good to see that they can stand up to the big boys in our preseason match against Tuks.
"For the last few years we have had quite an oldish squad, so this will be the first year that we are playing with a lot of second year students but we also still have about six players who have had a taste of this competition before.
"I think it's a good thing [to rebuild] and the young players we have are obviously talented, so we are excited to see what they can do," Scholtz told rugby365.com.
When it came to getting things going for the new season, Scholtz and his management team took a slightly different approach.
"We gave them a good break until January. When we started again, we only did fitness - no rugby stuff, no details. We purely focussed on principles and fitness to try to get them mentally fresher this year.
"For a young player, it is quite gruelling having to juggle all the rugby and the studies in between," he added.
The Bloemfontein derby will have a bit of extra spice this season as Scholtz looks forward to going up against his good friend, Tiaan Liebenberg - CUT-Ixias head coach.
"The Bloem derby is always interesting because of everything the players are competing for outside of the competition. I know Tiaan really well, so it is going to be interesting when we play against each other," he stated.
By Tauriq Ebrahim