H & H aim for top 5 spot in SLB

KEAGAN MITCHELL

With the 2016 club rugby season just a few days away from kicking off, the Kraaifontein outfit will hope to pick up where they left off last season.

The Rainbow boys surprised many after they beat Tygerberg 30-29 in a Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) pre-season encounter, at the Eikendal Sports Complex, in Kraaifontein, last weekend.

Hands & Heart coach Peter Links and his assistants will be proud of their side’s pre-season performances as they won three out of five games.

They started their opening pre-season game with a 63-36 victory against Figrove based-Raithby Universals.

That was followed up by a narrow 38-31 loss against SLA outfit SK Walmers and 33-27 defeat to Lower Paarl Blues who are one of the top teams in Boland.

They went on to beat neighbours Scottsdene Central 42-12 a fortnight ago before beating Tygerberg.

Referring to the game against the Florida Park-based side Links said he is proud of how his players performed because he knew it was going to be a tough game.

“My players gave me a fright in the first half because I did not expect us to do so well.

“The message at the break was simple stop them in broken play and divert our defence into pressure, which forced Tygerberg to make mistakes.

“That was what happened and we won the game. I believe we still have a few things to work on such as our kicking game after we missed out on 18 points.

“We must turn the negatives into positives and can only get better from here.

“Hopefully we can take our momentum with us into the season,” he said.

Links said his players showed great character throughout the pre-season games and played well until the end.

“I also tried different combinations and have a greater picture of my players that I want to use in the league seeing that I have seven new players,” he said.

The boys from the north have been in pre-season training since the second week of January and will hope to better their performances from last year.

Links said a few of his players have been playing sevens competition earlier this year to help with their fitness levels.

“We had a fitness session at Macassar beach that included running, and endurance. We also had a few sessions in the gym,” he said.

Hands & Heart will hope to show more consistency this season after they won the WPRFU SLB President Cup final, ended SLB in sixth place and were shield finalists in the WPRFU club sevens competition.

Links said small errors had cost them in crucial games last season as they lost most of their games by less than five points.

“The main goal this season is to end the SLB campaign in first or second place and gain promotion to SLA. It won’t be easy but I believe we have the players to go all the way this season,” he said.

Links said it won’t be easy when his side takes on Pniel Villagers at the weekend, especially playing in Pniel, but he believes his side can get one over them if they stick to their guns.

“If my players can continue their fine run of form then it is going to be an interesting game,” he said.