By Percival Sizara
Scott Gray is expecting his Old Mutual Zimbabwe Under-18 rugby side to move a gear up as they face Blue Bulls Country Districts in their second game at the Coca Cola Academy Week at Paarl Boys High today.
The squad are in high spirits after edging SA LSEN 29-27 on Monday.
But Blue Bulls CD will definitely be a different ball game. They also had a close 27-22 win over Sharks CD. Gray is under no illusion that his team weren’t in their best shape against SA LSEN considering how they were stretched and forced to chase the game twice for victory. “After we did a review, a lot of players said ‘we didn’t play the best we can’. We missed a lot of opportunities to put the game away and win by a more comfortable margin.
“The boys confidence is there, they enjoyed the game and it’s amazing how you always enjoy the game when you win by a point or two but they are realistic with the fact that they didn’t play as well as they could have.”
However, Gray reckons the best thing they have done so far in the Academy Week was winning their opening game.
Although it’s not yet known which side will turn out today, what is known, though, is that the tempo and intensity in the Academy Week is increasing.
With this in mind, Gray anticipates his team to step it up against the Blue Bulls CD. “Obviously it’s a good start for us to get a win on the board. The boys fought very hard for the win. We can’t take away the fact that we have had a win; it’s a good start to the festival.
“It’s absolutely the most important thing to start with a win.
“Coming back from a loss is harder so the fact that we have got a win does make it easier to prepare for the next game but it means our next game will be tougher. “The winners will go and play someone else who won so it means will be a harder game for us and we will have to play much better for us to be able to compete.”
As per tournament rules, all players who didn’t play against SA LSEN will be in the starting XV against Blue Bulls CD.