2023 GPS Season Preview: Riverview
After opening the 2022 season with an impressive win over King’s, Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview lost three of their next four games by six points or less.
Iggies weren’t far off last year, but coach Toby L’Estrange knows his side will need to improve again and be more consistent for the full 70 minutes each week to be a threat in this year’s 10-round GPS competition
Overview with Toby L’Estrange:
“You always feel you can be better prepared but we’re happy with where we’re at at this stage. We’ve got about six or seven coming back from last year’s team, so we’re probably a bit further ahead than where we were at this time last year, and we’ve got a bit more of a base to build from,” L’Estrange told Rugby News.
“The players have been working hard. We did some off season training with the boys who were available, then we got everyone together during the school holidays to really get stuck into our preparations.
“The two round competition is great in that you get to play everyone at home and away, and it’s more even in that sense.
“But the other side to that is that every game is going to be very taxing on the boys both physically and emotionally so we’ll need to be well prepared for all them.
“We’re looking forward to what is going to be a quality competition.
“We’ve got a shorter lead in time to round one, but we have the chance to build and develop throughout the season and that’s something we are looking forward to.
“We’ve got a different group this year and we’ve had to change the way we play slightly to suit that group. As coaches, this is our second season with the boys now and we learnt a lot from our first season that will help us moving forward.
“Our players that played last year also have a better understanding of the physicality, skill and fitness that it takes to compete and win at the top level, so they are holding each other to high standards.”
“A few boys are returning in the forwards, particularly in the backrow, and we’re looking forward to seeing how those players step up this year.
“We’ve also got a few boys who featured in our second XV last year and we’re confident they can step up to the top side. Those players were part of everything we did last year and know the type of rugby we want to play.
“We’ll look to utilise their experience and knowledge, particularly early on in the season. “Then there are a few young guys stepping up from the U16s in 2022 who have shown they have a lot of potential.
“It’s an interesting mix. We’re still looking at a few different combinations, but we’re excited to see what this group can do.”
What type of rugby will we see from Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview this season?
“We’re never going to be the biggest team so we have to be a team that will try and play quickly and try to use the full width of the field,” L’Estrange said.
“We are developing players’ skillsets to allow us to play that way.
“Our focus this year is to play our style of game for the entire 70 minutes.
“We have learnt that quality opposition only need the smallest opportunity and the game can get turned on its head very quickly.
Which teams pose the biggest threats this season?
“I think it’s going to be a really tough competition right across the board so it’s hard to say any one team above the rest.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge that each team presents. They all have some quality players and will present a different type of test for us on a weekly basis. “We’re going to need to play consistently well week in, week out throughout the two round competition. We believe we’ve got players with the right attitude to be able to do that.”