A knock to his confidence after taking part in provincial trials last year almost stopped Ysterplaat’s Reginald Mazula from lacing up and tackling Craven Week trials again this year, but a push from his coaches got him on the field, and he could not be happier with the outcome.
After multiple grueling rounds of trials, working his way up from the initial A2 and A3 school’s league trials, Mazula has landed in the Western Province Craven Week training squad and is confident that when the final cuts get made, he will be lining up in the blue and white hoops to take on the country’s best in Durban, in July.
“It’s hard to believe that I didn’t even want to go to trials this year because last year one of the selectors told me I was too short to make the side and that was a big drop in confidence for me. My coach told me to just believe in myself and do my best and it paid off.
“To be honest, the first rounds were quite easy. I played with some guys that I know and was very comfortable at that level. Once we got to the third round of trials, where the big schools like Paarl Gym came on the scene I thought it would be too tough but I surprised myself when I was able to stand my ground against them.
“I was entered as a flank but I play hooker for my school. I prefer being loose as I like to be able to get around the park quicker and especially getting to the rucks. I also enjoy carrying the ball and it feels like there’s more opportunity to do that as a loose forward,” he said.
The Bosmansdam High School Grade 12 pupil has had a standout season this year, despite the results not always going his side’s way.
He takes tremendous pride in the fact that he gets to captain his high school side, The Knights, and when he is on the field, he is a workhorse with the ball in hand and a menace on defence.
“I believe that a good player needs to be disciplined and have vision to see where the ball will go. To be great you also need to make sure that you are the fittest guy out there and that is something I try to work at as much as possible. Every player has his weaknesses and it’s up to him to work on them.
“As strange as it sounds, I’m really looking forward to finding my limit. I want to face the best possible competition I can. I have signed up at the airforce gym and am working to make my body hard so that I can make more metres when it comes to game time.
“Captaining my side means a lot to me. I love representing the school and motivating my team to do better. There’s a lot of pressure on us at the moment as we haven’t performed as well as we would have liked this season but I know we can work harder and pull it together.
“I love the values our school sets for us and portraying those on the field and showing what we are about is important to me,” he said.
Bosmansdam first team coach, Loren de Kock, has seen his fair share of talent come through his rugby sides but he is particularly proud of Reggie, as his teammates all know him, and hopeful that from this something bigger might come about.
“As a school we are extremely proud of Reggie. He is the third player in the school’s history to make it as far as the Craven Week training squad and certainly the first one in recent years.
“He has always been a standout player and having to go through the extra rounds of trials – and standing out at every level – we feel he deserves his spot on the team and we wish him luck.
“We know he is a player with a superb work ethic that leads by example. On the field he doesn’t have to speak a lot, he just works hard at practice and it shows in his games,” said De Kock.