Queen’s rugby ready

NEW DAWN: The Queen’s College newly-appointed technical rugby team, back from left, Cornelius von Cullwitz (1st XV assistant coach and skills), Nkululeko Gamede (2nd XV coach and defence), Siya Mzileni (2nd XV assistant coach and skills) and Miguel Caldeira (strength and conditioning). Front, from left, Lamla Maneli (1st XV head coach and forwards), Tyrone Rankin (director of rugby) and Allister van Schoor (manager) Picture: MAXWELL LEVINE

“It is not the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.”  A new dawn is set for Queen’s College with the appointment of their coaching structures for 2021 and beyond. Challenging, yet exciting times lie ahead for this proud institution which, has over the years, has produced talent extraordinaire in the likes of Kaya Malotana, S’bura Sithole, Lionel Cronje, Ryan Kankowski, Allan Dell, Johan Meyer, Josh Stander, Yaw Penxe and many others and more recently the next big thing in Sihlalo Benge and Liyema Mgwigwi.

Sport is an opportunity for children and youth to learn. It provides a “practise field” for life. Working as a team teaches children social skills that will help them in their growth as people. For youth, participating in sports may develop teamwork, leadership, self-confidence, self-discipline and coping skills. It teaches respect for authority. It also has a huge impact on self-esteem and teaches them to trust their abilities and push their limits.

Judging from the new and experienced coaching structure, Queen’s College can forget about the couple of lean years and look forward to greater and more positive results on the sports fields. The Rec will be a place that most teams will fear again. Queen’s College have roped in a formidable team of coaches to make this dream a reality. The buzzword is a “collective” as each individual is a class act on his own, but together they can achieve so much more.

In steps Tyrone Rankin as director of rugby who has vast knowledge of the game. He has the pedigree to lead the group of coaches as he has cut his teeth at Graeme College in Grahamstown and was part of the Nelson Mandela University Young Guns, the varsity team and EP U21. He coached the Grey High School U16A team and joined Queen’s College in 2019, since when he has been involved with the first team.

Rankin said: “The raw talent at Queen’s is second to none and I am honoured and blessed to lead the rugby club. I am excited to be a part of something special and as a collective I believe we can use our ideas and vision to make this team the best ever.” Rankin believes that the right coaches have been appointed who all have the same goal, vision and attitude.

Lamla Maneli is the 1st XV head coach and forwards coach, Cornelius von Cullwitz is the 1st XV assistant coach and backline coach, Allister van Schoor, the team manager, with Miguel Caldeira the strength and conditioning coach. Nkululeko Gamede will be 2nd XV coach and defence coach and Siyambonga Mzileni the 2nd XV assistant coach and skills coach.

Maneli, an Old Boy of the school, is in probably the hottest coaching job in Komani. The expectations are high and the pressure is immense so it is certainly not a place for the faint-hearted. Not everyone has the honour to coach a 1st XV at school level with the standard of school rugby in South Africa at a very high level. Maneli is a product of the system, it is in his blood. He played for the school and went on to achieve greater things in his rugby career. having played Border U21 and SA Students who played in the World Cup in Italy. He played for the Blue Bulls and the Pumas.

Back in Komani, he is club director and head coach of Breakers in the Border Super League. His involvement with coaching at the school dates back to 2017 with the thirds and in 2018 he assisted with the 1st XV. In 2019 he coached the U16A to an 80% winning record.

Maneli said: “I am excited and humbled by the appointment. I am glad to have been a part of the 2018 team, which had a poor season. That prepared me as I learned so much from the experience. For now, we need to do the small things right – uniformity, principles, policies and the culture to wear the white jersey with pride.”

Queen’s College can draw strength from the fact that their feeder teams are on a par with their objectives. Both Maneli and Rankin believe that the A teams are crucial to their feeder system. Fortunately their coaches, Maneli, Clinton Löest and Miguel Caldeira are part of the ECDP squad coaching panel. The school had enough representatives in the Border provincial age group teams which will benefit the teams in future. Although 2020 was halted by the coronavirus pandemic which has slightly stalled their progress, the message is clear – the College is back, because the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in the coaches’ determination.

By: Maxwell Levine

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