South Africa vs. Jamaica – The Interviews

By Daniel Andruczyk

I was able to have a quick chat with some of the coaching staff from South Africa and Jamaica and get a bit of an insight on what they were taking away from the tournaments. As it turns out as well, out fellow International Rugby league journalist, Steve Mascord, was also on hand to watch the game, though he was jetting off for one crazy Rugby League tour, to Avignon for the France v England game and then onto Serbia for the last round of World Cup Qualifiers. So on with the interviews.

First up is Steven van Zyl, who is the coach of the South African Rhinos

Rugby League International Scores: Steve unfortunate today, very wet, very scrappy, however I think South Africa put on a really good show and showed that they can actually match it with the Jamaicans Physically. It was just a little a bit wet there?

Steven van Zyl: I think when we found out it would be raining today we did try and prepare for the wet ball. Irrespective of that, when we look at the South African squad, you know they’re fully amateur and and these guys will be going back to their normal day jobs including myself as an Educator in South Africa, I think the guys put up a good performance. I think we had the opportunities to put points up on the board. In the end I think its the experience of the Jamaicans professional players came through. Yeah it was a scrappy game, its wasn’t the best of Rugby League games, in the end Jamaica played a better game than us in the conditions.

RLIS: From this what do you take home? What does South Africa Learn from this experience?

SVZ: From the experience, from the start we all committed to the South African Domestic Players, we all know South Africa is a massive, massive Union orientated country, and we all know the Springboks, the whole world knows them, we knew that if we can bring the domestic players out here and just perform well, perform well – yes we were hoping for wins, the Canadian game was a good win and in terms of amateur we can compete with any country in the world using amateur players. These Professional players have learnt us a lesson today, I think going back to South Africa something we will take from this is definitely, we got 11 players we do know of, we do know the wild dogs in Europe are a fully South African squad, we will look into some of those players, maybe invest in some of those players and like Jamaica bring in a few professionals players and bringing them in might just bring us through to a standard and the domestic players to a new level and that’s when we can compete, and hopefully with the Atlantic Cup we can work with the amateur and professional players together.


Next I was able to grab hold of Dean Thomas the Jamaican Head coach, who was very happy with the win today despite the rain.

RLIS: Dean, a very wet, very scrappy day, but you have to be pleased with the performance of your boys?

Dean Thomas: Yes we are very pleased with the defensive performance of the guys. We came in with a game plane to kick early and turn them around and defend in their territory. It didn’t work out as we were giving away penalties on the first and second tackles and they got that field position, so I am a bit disappointed in that. But basically we did tough it out, especially when they were camped on out line, we worked hard for each other and that gives us a lot of positives going into the game against the Unites States on Sunday.

RLIS: Now you saw the game last week against the United States, now you were able to hold up physically against the South Africans, with America winning last week do you think you can cope physically against the Americans?

DT: Absolutely, I think the South Africans scores a try against the Americans they scored a try against us, goal line defence wise we held it well. We know what the Americans can do, we know their strengths we also know their weaknesses and what we need to do now is take the positives from this game and make sure we exploit those weaknesses. Just make sure we do a little bit better with the ball in the hand.

RLIS: So from here how do you see the future for Rugby League in Jamaica with this whole World Cup Qualifying process?

DT: Rugby League for Jamaica is massive, if we, IF WE go out there and win on Sunday then the Island will take a huge stage in its development of Rugby League and that’s what we have to do internationally to make sure the domestic scene can be at its best, we have to perform internationally and yes to get another win today is great, long terms we got to try and qualify. If we we don’t we can still rebuild move forward, make sure the domestic game is there and we need to look at ourselves and have a good point of action plan for our next international Games.


Last I was able to get the Jamaican Manager Romeo Monteith for a quick word.

RLIS: Romeo you have to be pleased with the performance todays especially in such conditions?

Romeo Monteith: Yes, the weather was really terrible today and it made difficult for the ball handling skills to come forward. That resulted in a really defensive quagmire for both teams, but it was a great spectacle, the hits were really hard from both teams. The boys tried really hard from South Africa and the Jamaicans and at the end of the day we had a 14 point margin which in these conditions I cant improve them. You know lets just build on this on Sunday against the USA and see how well we can do against the Tomahawks.

RLIS: How did you find the physicality of the South Africans? There was a lot of talk that their probably the most physical of the teams in the Atlantic Group?

RM: Definitely it was really physical, one of our boys had is front tooth broken in half. The intensity out there was really massive. I think we stood up well, I think we got in a few big shots as well and that definitely showed them that we are able to stand up, that its not just about speed but also about power, but it was a really good spectacle, but unfortunately the weather prevented a lot of fans from coming here and seeing a great spectacle


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