Oakdale Agricultural High School is well known for their rugby and tug-of-war. Situated in Riversdal, the school has produced some of the country’s top rugby players. The most notable in the last few years is the British & Irish Lions South African born CJ Stander. The Ireland loose forward is part of a handful of talented international players that graced the halls of Oakdale. Pedrie Wannenburg, Johann Muller, Meyer Bosman and most recently Junior Springbok JT Jackson.
The school is among the top 20 rugby teams in the country, which grants them access to be invited to the popular Wildeklawer rugby tournament in Kimberley. This is by no means a small feat and the 19 quality age group rugby teams testify of the capabilities that exist within the Oakdale family.
Preparation is key for any rugby coach or director of rugby, and it is no different for Malan du Plessis and his fellow rugby coaches. The Oakdale teams are getting ready for the 2018 season and given the successful 2017 that they had it goes without saying that they will be targeted by a few teams.
Known for their silky skills and talented interplay, Oakdale will be relying on this heading into the season. Du Plessis believes that this will be key for Oakdale in 2018 once again.
“To have a good base and platform to play from our the set pieces and to create quick ball at the ruck,” du Plessis told Awsum News when asked what will be the focus areas for Oakdale. “We have a balanced side and we want to play a positive brand of rugby.”
Consistency is key for any rugby team, especially at the high school level and it is no different for the boys from Riversdale. Having no less than ten players that were part of the 2017 first team. It serves du Plessis and his charges well knowing that this will become a key element for them. However, like most rugby teams at this time of the year, Oakdale is facing some challenges.
“We have ten players still available from 2017, to get their conditioning and level of skill up to standard is the main focus point. We are working hard on all aspects, we don’t have the numbers (400 boys) and a lot of the players are doing summer sport. The challenge is to keep the balance between the different sports codes.”
Despite these obstacles, du Plessis remains positive that they will provide the public with an entertaining brand of rugby every time the Oakdale jersey dons a rugby field. A few key players to look out for this year include hooker Keano Hendricks, flank forward Henco Beukes and utility back Clyde Lewis.