This leaves us begging with one question. What is the key to their success? What has changed since 2015, 2016 and 2017? How did Grey manage to turn the ship around? Losing 4 games and 39 players to injury, all with first team experience in 2015 to being unbeaten for 34 games and having no serious injuries in the past 2 years?
Is it because the coaching structure has changed? Well, one of the best coaching teams consisting of Wessel du Plessis, Tewis de Bruin and Wian du Preez is unchanged since 2015. They are still teaching the exact same structure of rugby. The only real difference to this elite squad is the addition of legendary Helgard Muller, also known as nr.13, in 2017. Helgard Muller is a coach who constantly reminds the boys in the first-team to have fun and enjoy not only their rugby but each others company too, in an intense and serious environment.
Is it because there are better players coming through the ranks? This is perhaps, one of the strongest arguments to the success of the first-teams of 2018 and 2019. With 2018’s first-team boasting names like Herman Agenbag, Wyclef Vlitoor and Ross Braude who all played SA schools in either the 15-man code or 7’s code. And 2019’s first-team having its own share of names such as Jan-hendrik Wessels, George Cronje, FC du Plessis, Lesley Botha and Ian Small-Smith this argument has a strong case to plead. But then again previous years had names such as Rikus Pretorius(SA schools and SA u/20), Christopher Schreuder(SA schools), Janco Van Heyningen(SA schools) and David Kriel(SA u/20). Others had names such as Jaco van Tonder(clermont), Dian Schoonees(SA schools and SA u/20) and Rewan Kruger (SA schools and SA u/20). So even though this current first XV is full of star-studded names, who can all be respectively seen as the best player in their position in the country, are they really that different from all the previous year groups? Are they all secretly from Krypton and hiding their super powers? Don’t get me wrong, this is indeed a very special school boy rugby team and I am one of the true believers that this might just be the best School Boy team that Grey College has ever had. But are these boys really that different from all the other first teams Grey has delivered? Well the answer, simply put, is yes they are.
So what gives them their edge? What has changed so drastically? What makes them so different from all the other great first XV teams that Grey College has delivered? There is one simple answer. It is not a what but a who. He is the man who operates behind the scenes. He only became involved with the Grey College first XV at the start of 2018. Exactly when Grey’s rugby took a turn in the right direction. Coincidence??
So who is this man?
Inus Keyser. This is the man who deserves a large amount of the credit and applause.
Inus Keyser’s official title is Fitness and Conditioning Coach, a job in which he is the paragon of. He takes Grey boys and turns them into real life superheroes. Making them fitter, faster and stronger than any other school boy in their respective positions. He does this through innovative exercises and fitness. Often joining the boys in the gym and leading the way. However, he is so much more than just a Fitness and Conditioning coach. He is a life coach too. One that teaches young men to believe in themselves and to become all that they can be. A man who teaches boys to respect themselves and through that they are better able to respect others. A man that teaches Grey boys how to become Grey Gentlemen. A man who doesn’t always do the fun and enjoyable thing for the team, but instead does what is necessary for the team. He is the glue that holds this team together. He is the one that talks to the men of the First XV in the huddle once the coaches have left them to be alone before they run onto the field. He is the one that makes them have fire in their bellies and ice in their heads. He is the one that has them so fired up that they’ll run through a brick wall for their teammates and school. He is the one that notices the one player who amongst all the chaos, pressure, shouting and nerves has something bothering him and helps him sort it out. He is the one that makes every player who dons the jersey believe in himself and in his ability. He is the perfect balance of a father, brother and friend to every single first-team player.
How does he do all of this?
His philosophy is: Win the boys’ hearts and you have won the battle. Inus Keyser is the Coach who sleeps in the hostel with the team, not in a nice hotel like all the other coaches, or even in his own bed like all the first XV players, but on the floor next to the players because that is where he feels that he is closest to the team. He has a connection not just with every player but every Grey boy he ever meets. He doesn’t win the boys’ favour through fear or even respect but through loyalty. He is able to connect with and bring out the best in every single player in the first-team whether they come from bloemfontein, johannesburg, welkom, kathu or uppington. Whether they are rich, poor, fat, skinny, loud or quiet. He finds a way to connect with them and bring out the best in every single one of them.
After barely having a month’s worth of pre-season with the 2018 first-team squad he managed to deliver an unbeaten season to Grey College for the first time since 2011. Achieving this is no small feat. Can you imagine what the first team would achieve if he were to spend a full pre-season of five months with them instead of just one?
Well we have the privilege of seeing the outcome of exactly that. That is exactly what we are currently witnessing. That is what is being delivered by the first-XV of 2019.
So to Inus Keyser the man who puts in all the hard work not caring about who receives the credit or in his own words: “Even if I had to do it for free I would. Because Grey is my passion and my life. I am doing what I love.” We salute you. We cherish you and we thank you for everything that you do for our beloved school. You are a true Grey Gentleman.
Thank-you First XV
Thank-you coaching staff.
THANK-YOU INUS KEYSER.
Written by Rocco Steyn (Grey School Captain 2018)