The SSS Gryphons boys rugby team runs drills at the SSS gymnasium. Despite no outside play as of yet the Gryphons are moving ahead with pre-season training for the 2012 season.

The SSS Gryphons boys rugby team runs drills at the SSS gymnasium. Despite no outside play as of yet the Gryphons are moving ahead with pre-season training for the 2012 season.

Gryphons rugby rucking over

The Smithers Secondary school boys rugby team is gearing up for another year, despite lingering winter conditions on the playing fields.

The Smithers Secondary boys Rugby team is gearing up for another year, despite lingering winter conditions that plague playing fields. However, that is not keeping them down and so far the team has been busy at pre season training.

“We mostly focus on fitness exercises and injury prevention,” said head coach Cobus Jonker. “We started a few weeks ago with basic rugby skills. We’ve lost a lot of guys from last year so we have lots of new youngsters that need to get involved and learn the game. So luckily we still have a few older guys like the captains that will help with the skills transfer for the newer players.”

With a rocky couple of seasons in the past, and a solid showing at provincials last year, the SSS Gryphons are hungry for action. Granted they only have seven returning players, captain Ryan Stumborg believes they will still be top competitors in the North and definitely have their sights set on provincials once again.

“We’re starting off pretty good, getting lots of fitness in, working on stamina cause thats important,” Stumborg said. “We’re getting the guys to start bringing their mouth guards cause we’re going to start hitting more.”

But like many teams every few years requires some rebuilding. Including everything from game readiness to fundraising for the season.

“We’ll start with fundraising shortly to raise about $15,000 for the season, should we go to the provincials,” said Jonker.

However, getting new blood out in the rucks and increasing the skill level of the younger players moving up the line is top of the menu this early in the season.

“Because we only have a few senior players returning,” Jonker said, “some of them are going to leave at the end of the year. So we need to get the new guys in to have a brilliant season in two or three years time. I’m not saying that we’re not expecting a brilliant season this year but there’s a lot of coaching that needs to go into the younger guys.”

Although the team is pretty fresh, with 60 per cent of the team being new comers to the game, Jonker and fellow coach Allen Slater still see a strong team come game time and are prediction another top finish in the northern region and are already setting their sights on provincials and perhaps a regional championship.

The Gryphons Rugby season commences April 23.