Dec 4, 2020

Coaches Corner at Westville Boys’ High School

WAYLON MURRAY

FUN FACTS:

High school attended:  Westville Boys’ High School
Family: Married to Nicci and I have one son, Grayson
Coaching position at Westville Boys’ High School: Director of Sports
Favourite provincial team: The Sharks
Mentors: Brad Mooar

Rugby playing career: Lions, Southern Kings, Blue Bulls, Sharks and French Fédérale Mâcon
Hobbies and Interests:  Reading, running, psychology
Favourite holiday destination:  Italy
Favourite meal:  Mutton curry
Quote that you try to live by:  “Be of service to others not your ego”

1.  Waylon, you have had a wonderful rugby playing career. Congratulations on all your achievements!! How did this rugby journey all begin for you?

Rugby was a natural progression for me. I grew up loving sport and in particular rugby and cricket.

2.  Tell us how you did a full circle returning to Westville Boys’ High Schools as Director of Sport?

I have always had a good relationship with the ex-headmaster Trevor Hall, he extended an opportunity to mentor young sportsman. I have always had a passion for giving back to the youth and this offer to come back to Westville Boys’ High was a return to family for me.

3.  How have you managed to keep sport in general “alive” during this challenging COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown?

The biggest concern for us was making sure we provided a support structure for our boys during the covid pandemic. We wanted to emphasis a bigger importance on well being. We created an online sporting portal which provided resources for our students to stay fit and healthy.

4.  What is your vision for Westville Boys’ High School in the long term?

Our goal will always be to create better human beings, creating a culture of family and togetherness is always at the top of the priority list. We want to be competitive always, but always remind ourselves that we are an academic institution first and foremost. We want to grow and extract our students potential with a major spotlight on emotional intelligence.

5.  What is your ultimate goal as a coach?

To create better human beings that will contribute to the world and to our community.

6.  Tell us what goes through your mind as a coach during a very close and tense match?

Remain calm and have confidence that you have done your best. If you have done your preparation in the week at a high level than you can be at peace with the end result.

7.  Westville Boys’ High School had a very young and talented 1st XV team in 2019 and looked like having an awesome 2020. Then along came the COVID-19 pandemic and put a halt to the 2020 season. What are your feelings on all of this?

There is no certainties in life, we can however control how we react to situations. Always stay positive and understand what you can control and cannot.

8.  What advice do you have for young and upcoming rugby coaches?

Never stop learning and innovating, never think you are the finished product. Ask for help never suffer in silence, grow a culture of collaboration with other coaches you admire.

9. Do you follow Pegasus Publishing on their social media platforms and if so, what do you find sets us apart from all the others?

Pegasus is well and truly the professional gold standard. The company continues to grow from strength to strength because of their emphasis on relationships and exceptional service.

10.  Pegasus Publishing has been producing your KZN High Schools Rugby Fixture Programmes since 2011. What affect and role do you feel this has played with the schools – players and coaching staff in general?

Pegasus is a wonderful tool to help coaches better prepare and stay up to date with all the latest fixtures and news.


JEREMY MCLAREN

FUN FACTS:

High school attended:  Sentraal High School
Family:  Mom, Dad and my brother
Coaching position at Westville Boys’ High School:  1st XV Coach

Favourite provincial team: The Sharks
Mentors: I must say it’s always been a tough question. I always read books about Pro coaches and learn from them.

Previous coaching positions:  Gelofte High School, Kloof High School & Glenwood High School.
Hobbies and Interests: Golf and cycling
Favourite holiday destination:  Mauritius
Favourite meal:  Pizza
Quote that you try to live by:  “A Cheerful heart is good medicine”

1. When and how did your love and passion for rugby begin?

Growing up in Bloemfontein where I attended Grey Primary School definitely inspired me to play the game. From Primary School I attended Sentraal High School where I was fortunate to be best mates with Jimmy Powell (Neil Powell’s brother). He also inspired me to play at my best back as a schoolboy.

2.  What made you decide to pursue rugby coaching as a career?

I think I have always enjoyed the game and after school I studied “Youth Ministry and Counselling” for three years. This allowed me to understand young men better and loving rugby just made it so much easier to coach. Especially coaching the heart before the game.

3.  You have had the privilege of coaching some of the best schoolboy rugby players in the country. You also coach at club level. Do you have to make adjustments when switching between the two? If so, what are these?

The advantage you have coaching at school is time with the boys whereas at club you only have training days with the players. Because school is full time you have so much more meetings and one on ones with players. I also find that the younger the player is, the more he is adjustable. Where some older club players might be settled in their ways. But club also gives you the opportunity to coach Provincial players.

4.  Congratulations on coaching the Sharks High Schools U18’s at 2 Craven Week finals. What does it take to win this prestigious tournament?

Thank you, it’s really been a blessing. You need the right selections and that is what our Province gets right and credit to our Selectors; Gerald, Dean and Noel. So I would say the right players and when you do reach the unofficial final, an extra day of recovery. In the last 8/9 years the winners of Craven Week was from the Monday/Wednesday group. Its medically proven that some player might start feeling sore and stiff on day two. So to have a hard game on Thursday, you would always feel it somewhere in that last game. We lost both finals in the last quarter of those matches due to fatigued players. But credit to the winners. Just my option.

5.  What is your ultimate goal as a coach?

Never coach for a result!! Invest in the human first and the rest will take care of itself. I have had many great wins in my career without putting focus on winning. When a player knows that you care, he will run through a brick wall for you.

6.  Tell us what goes through your mind as a coach during a very close and tense match?

I think it’s to always believe that your team can pull the game off. We came back against Affies 7-31 to beat them 35-31 last year, and in that game I had known we could do it.

7.  Westville Boys’ High School had a very young and talented 1st XV team in 2019 and looked like having an awesome 2020. Then along came the COVID-19 pandemic and put a halt to the 2020 season. What are your feelings on all of this?

Some days it still feels like we in this movie and that it’s not real. The thought reality of this pandemic is the Grade 12 boys that would never have their season over. I also think the pandemic is a good wakeup call that rugby is not everything but your academics as well. But in saying all of this, we were really excited about our players this year.

8.  What advice do you have for young and upcoming rugby coaches?

I think if you are serious about your coaching career it will definitely be to coach at a Senior Professional level but the ultimate goal would be to coach on the Sevens Circuit.

9. Do you follow Pegasus Publishing on their social media platforms and if so, what do you find sets us apart from all the others?

I have followed Pegasus Publishing for many years now and just love the handbooks they publish each year. It’s so good to have all the fixtures from school to clubs on hand.

10.  Pegasus Publishing has been producing your KZN High Schools Rugby Fixture Programmes since 2011. What affect and role do you feel this has played with the schools – players and coaching staff in general?

It’s not just the simplicity but also how professional Pegasus have been. Easy to find fixtures. Thank you for the great work.


NJABULO ZULU

FUN FACTS:

High school attended: Westville Boys’ High School
Family: I am single with no kids
Coaching position at Westville Boys’ High School: 1st Team Coach
Favourite provincial team: Sharks
Mentors: Bafana Nhleko (SA U20 coach) and Timmy Goodwin (Golden Lions coach)

Rugby playing career: Sharks Craven Week, Golden Lions U19 and U21, Aylesford Bulls (England), Norwich Lions (England), Croydon (England), Wanderers Rugby Club.
Previous coaching positions: King David High School Linksfield (1st Team Head Coach), Northcliff High School (Defense Coach), Golden Lions Academy Week (Assistant Coach), Lancaster University (Assistant Coach), QEGS (England), Upper Eden Rugby Club (Head Coach – England), Newcastle Falcons Academy (Guest Coach – England), Parktown Boys’ High School (1st Team Assistant Coach), Wanderers Rugby Club (U21 Head Coach), Pirates Rugby Club (U21 Head Coach), UJ Varsity Cup Young Guns (Assistant Coach), Varsity College (U20 Head Coach)
Hobbies and Interests: Travelling
Favourite holiday destination: Istanbul and New Orleans
Favourite meal: Spur Ribs and wings
Quote that you try to live by: “Be the voice, not the echo”

1.  Congratulations on your achievements Njabulo! Where did the love and passion for this beautiful game begin for you?

My love stems from 2 people. First is my teacher at primary school, Mr Nico Van Pletzen. He really believed in me at a time where I didn’t know much about the sport at all. I was at a small school with not a lot of good rugby players so my confidence in being able to make Pinetown and districts was non existent so KZN was just unthinkable. Mr Van Pletzen was always there for me though to drive me to Maritzburg for trials and buy me powerades and talk me through my nerves.. he spoke confidence and belief into me.He was a God send and will forever be grateful to him for believing in me and investing in me.

The second person was my brother. My brother is 3 years older than me and therefore began this rugby journey before me. At a very young age he was teaching me things in the back yard like how to hand off and pass better, how to side step and chip and chase. I would watch him play in awe. I feel that having an older brother who nurtured me gave me the edge over a lot of my peers. It also gave me a goal to aspire to seeing him succeed in his rugby.

2.  You are currently coaching at Sharks High Schools level as well as at Premier Division Club Northwood Crusaders. How has this experience been for you?

I have loved the experience thoroughly. I enjoy working with all sorts of groups. Male and female, young and old. I have coached them all. So coming back to my home province and being involved in coaching my home province was incredibly emotional. So much so that the first game I ever had as a KZN coach at Grant Khomo vs Border, I was so overwhelmed with emotion and immense pride. I love my province and am a proud zulu man so the opportunity to represent the Kingdom of the Zulu and the people of KwaZulu Natal is not one I take lightly.

Then being a premier league coach has been a great joy. I have really enjoyed my time at Crusaders and am fortunate to with some incredible people there. I really look forward to what’s to come post corona.

3.  You and Jeremy McLaren have formed a formidable coaching combination at Westville High School. The young 1st XV performed exceptionally well in 2019 and were shaping to be a dominant force in 2020. Then Covid-19 arrived. What are the challenges in keeping the boys motivated?

It is a tough one. Jeremy and I have been looking forward to 2020 for a long time. We earmarked it as the year where Westville could have a really big year. We have a lot of great players but they are even better human beings. Great ambassadors of the Westville and this is what made us most excited was the opportunity to have the 2020 season with this team who would not only play great rugby but I believe rugby be great role models for their school.

Anyways it wasn’t to be and accepting that was tough and I’d be lying if I said there still wasn’t the odd day where I don’t felt frustrated and the sense of loss about it. The headspace has shifted a lot to staying healthy and being active and being ready again when the opportunity comes again. Not taking the small joys for granted. Understanding that rugby is important but never more important than physical health, mental health, family etc. So yes it’s tough at times but we are soldiering on.

4.  What is your ultimate goal as a coach?

To be a pro coach someday and to have my own non profit organisation that works on unearthing talent in the most rural areas of KZN. I do not want it to just be about sport though. Sport is just the vehicle. I want to promote health and being a good man and being a good citizen of our communities and country. I can do this through sport and the lessons sport teaches.

5.  Tell us what goes through your mind as a coach during a very close and tense match?

I pray a lot! I try to remain as process focused as possible and think about the moment not in terms of the tension or what’s at stake but in terms of what my game philosophy and game management requires from me and the team. It’s not always easy to remain detached from emotion but the very best coaches are able to control their emotion and remain focussed on the group’s well being. I also know attitude reflects leadership. Of my players see me panicking and nervous then that will be transferred to them. I did drama at school. I need to act a lot as a coach and sometimes fake my confidence and calmness.

6.  Westville Boys’ High School had a very young and talented 1st XV team in 2019 and looked like having an awesome 2020. Then along came the Covid-19 pandemic and put a halt to the 2020 season. What are your feelings on all of this?

Sad. This was a year we were really excited about and felt it was a year where we were going to reap our reward. Last year was a year of sowing. This was the year to reap. It wasn’t to be and that’s sad. But we aren’t the first group to ever be disappointed in life. Nor are we the last. That’s why when I next have a group who are deemed to be a “dream team” I will be more appreciative of the journey with them. Life always teaches us and reminds us that we can never take anything for granted. Covid-19 has been a big reminder of that.

7.  What advice do you have for young up and upcoming rugby coaches?

Coach as much as possible! Different ages, different genders. In different locations, with different cultural groups … I site this as one of the greatest things for my development as a coach. I have coached all sorts and everywhere. Including abroad in America and England. Do not limit yourself to just coaching rugby either. While you may know that rugby is you 1st love, working in other sports makes you a true student of sport, of movements, of psyche … requiring to learn and research and maybe bring out some of the traits you don’t have to rely on in rugby the sport you are more comfortable with. Being uncomfortable is a very good thing. The more you can get yourself into uncomfortable positions/situations the easier you will start to deal with what you initially used to think were uncomfortable positions. Being uncomfortable grows one to become very comfortable.

8.  Do you follow Pegasus Publishing on their social media platforms and if so, what do you find sets us apart from all the others?

Yes I do. I love Pegasus Publishing and personally I spent so much time in Johannesburg. I love being able to keep tabs on what’s going on there and results etc.

9.  Pegasus Publishing has been producing your KZN High Schools Rugby Fixture Programmes since 2011. What affect and role do you feel this has played with the schools – players and coaching staff in general?

The Pegasus Publishing rugby fixture programme is a very professional programme and for KZN to be able to know that this is an area that is covered yearly and of a high calibre, is fantastic.