Flair meets function. Flash meets fortitude. This is the yin and the yang of NWU-Puk’s Young Guns coaching duo Melusi Mthethwa and Chaka Willemse.
Mthetwha is in charge of the backline, tasked with enthralling crowds and puncturing defensive lines. Willemse is on the other side of the spectrum. He commands the tank battalion on the frontlines, those behemoths who tirelessly grind away the opposition whilst the stealth fighters in the rear deliver their precision strikes.
It is rugby’s harmony, as lopsided on paper as it is symmetrically perfect on the field. And, in former Leopards coach Chaka Willemse, the NWU-Puk has the ideal mentor of the pack.
“Melusi likes exciting, running rugby and it is my task to give him quality possession to work with. I think we complement each other extremely well,” says Willemse.
“We also have a group of players able to play the game we want.”
Mtetwha and Willemse will need their troops firing on all cylinders when they face FNB NMMU Young Guns at the Fanie du Toit Sports Field on Monday afternoon.
“Most of their side formed part of the team that won U19 Currie Cup with Eastern Province last year,” saidWillemse. “It is going to be a massive challenge, but we’ll know precisely where we are after the game.”
It is but one step in achieving their greater goal.
“We want to win our group, we want to advance to the final and it goes without saying that we want to win the final. It is something we haven’t been able to achieve in this competition before.”
With the right mentality Willemse knows his players will be able to do just that.
“I’ve just had a scrum session with the guys where I told them that they only have to believe in themselves,” Willemse said. “Yes, they will be facing a side laced with U19 Currie Cup winners, but what an opportunity to prove their worth. I’ve never believed in something such as a bad player, only a player that makes bad decisions on the field. If they work hard and keep to it they can make it.”
By Bertie Jacobs