NSW CAS: Waverley 2019 CAS Season Preview with Scott Coleman

After claiming the CAS premiership in 2016 and 2017, Waverley were beaten by a classy Barker outfit in 2018. 

But coach Scott Coleman is confident his side will bounce back and benefit from a tough preseason that has seen the school play some of the best side’s in Australia and abroad. 

Photo: Angus McPherson

Overview with Scott Coleman

“We’ve had a really tough preseason and played against some really good schools. We also went to Japan and played in the SANIX tournament, which was fantastic as well,” Waverley coach Scott Coleman told Rugby News. 

“We’ve played a lot of footy already and I think that’s helped us improve a lot. If you look back at the first game we played this year and everything we’ve done since then, you can just see how much the boys have grown and learned about what we’re trying to do. 

“I think we did pretty well last year. Barker were an incredible footy team and they deserved to win but the fact that we were able to push them all the way was a positive. They were the dominant side all year and I was happy to see them have their moment but at the same time, I was happy with the way our boys went. 

“We played Kings at the new Bankwest Stadium on Saturday and that was a fantastic experience for everyone involved. Full credit to NSW Rugby for organising that. We had 30 kids playing, all of our coaching staff and probably 1000 parents and supporters cheering us on so it was a great night. 

“We also played Joeys, who are a very good footy team. I thought we played well but we just let in too many points. You don’t often score 47 points against a team and lose but we did that day. 

“In Japan, we came fourth overall. The quality of the rugby over there was fantastic, particularly some of the Japanese sides. They play a very structured game of footy, so it was good to come up against something different like that.”

2019 Squad: 

“We’ve got a couple of boys back but I think we’ve spent most of our time trying to build on the lessons that we learnt last year,” Coleman continued, 

“Last year we could have been better and we’ve worked hard to make sure we improve a few of the areas that we needed to improve. 

“I think the boys have been a little more disciplined this year, which has been great. They’ve been getting stuck in to all their field and gym sessions and I think we were a little slack in that area last year. 

“We’ve also got a new S&C coach this year and he’s done a fantastic job. The boys are in really good shape. 

“I think the biggest thing with this group is that they know they need to work for everything now. 

“In the past, maybe they thought it was just going to happen but after last year the guys know that every kid at every school is working just as hard and are just as hungry as they are.”

Key areas of improvement: 

“We’ve worked really hard on our line out. Set piece has probably been an area where teams have tried to attack us in the past. We spent a lot of time setting up some structures around that. 

“Our scrum still needs a bit of work and we’ve got two flankers playing prop at this stage. As a former prop myself, I’ve spent a lot of time working with them and I’ve already seen a lot of improvement, but we’ve still got a way to go. 

“We’re probably playing a little more structured than we have in the past. Waverley usually plays a bit of an eyes up rugby style but I think we’re looking a lot more structured this year. Some teams might be a bit surprised by that but I think we’ve got the players to suit that style.”

Hope and expectations for the season: 

“We want to be competitive in every game,” Coleman said. 

“I think the CAS comp this year is going to be really, really strong. You look at Knox, Barker, Aloys, Trinity, Cranbrook, there aren’t any easy games this year and we’ll need to be at our best in each. 

“Every team will be well drilled and skilful and they’re all working just as much as we are so we need to be consistent and try and be a little smarter at times throughout the season.”

Bold prediction for 2019:

“CAS will beat GPS again for the third year in a row,” Coleman, who also coaches CAS 1st XV said. 

“Across the competition there are a number of players returning from last year and I think the depth across the schools is as good as I’ve seen it. GPS will be strong as well, but I think our guys will be up for it.”