AS the club rugby season heads into the final few weeks of competition, it’s clear that the hunger to excel is still floating around at Wanderers Rugby Club.
Forced to punch above their weight on their return to the Predator League for the first time in 12 seasons, coach Neil Kalify’s side seem to have exceeded expectations as they found themselves hovering in the middle of the log as the competition splits into it’s various sub-elements in the coming fixtures.
Having secured promotion by virtue of a strong campaign in last year’s Senior Grand Challenge, Wanderers, at one stage, looked set for inclusion in the cup competition.
Having narrowly missed out, they have adjusted their ambitions and are hoping to claim the plate trophy in their first season back at the highest level of club rugby.
The competition sees sides from the Lions, Leopards and Valke rugby unions taking part.
“It’s about experience and learning and there have been lessons for us along the way. The passion, enthusiasm and brotherhood is there at the club,” Kalify said yesterday as he reflected on the new challenge awaiting them, having secured a 15-7 win over Randfontein on the weekend to get their plate campaign off to a positive start.
“You obviously want to be higher on the log but it’s our first season back and we’ve proved that the club is on the right track. People thought we’d struggle having not played premier league rugby for 12 years but my guys have held their own.”
Kalify is adamant his side has what it takes to prevail in the plate competition and has added the goal of participating in the Community Cup, a tournament initiated by the South African Rugby Union in an effort to strengthen the open clubs.
“Our aim is to win the plate and then get into the Community Cup. There’s a chance we can get into that competition as the wildcard but to earn it outright would be even better,” said Kalify.
In his second season at the helm, Kalify feels that the positivity among the players and coaching staff has seen them push a few of the bigger sides to the edge while recording victories along the way.
With extra attention comes added pressure, something the side will need to absorb as they eye silverware for their shelves.