By Nico de Villiers
Posted: Updated:

Today we have our first interview with an S&C coach in the South African rugby industry.

Ryno Rust is currently the head of S&C at Paarl Boys High, a school who had an immense run of form over the last couple year. Besides being ranked the number one schools team in SA for the last two years, they have been undefeated in the country and delivers 13 WP Craven week players and 10 SA Schools, players. I think it is safe to say that Ryno has been on the forefront of helping develop some of the best talents in this country.

Ryno has a honours degree in Sports Science and have been involved with top-level schools rugby since 2011, serving schools like Glenwood, Northlands primary and for the last 4 year, Paarl Boys High

I had the privilege of working with him at the recent SARU EPD camp at Paarl Gim in October where he worked with the u/16 boys.

In this interview, he gave me some insight into his training approach, common mistakes schools trainers make and some progression with different age groups.


rugbyscsa: You were involved with the recent National u16 camp held with the cream of the crop of SA youth players. What was your impression of the youngster and the conditioning levels they were at?

RR: Generally, the boys were well mannered and conducted themselves professionally. We can see that as boys get exposed to a conditioning culture they pick up quickly on what’s needed, the know how’s with regards to techniques etc.

rugbyscsa: You have been involved with some of the top youth players in this country, from a conditioning point of view, what have you found to be the difference between the boys who make it to a professional career and those who don’t?

RR: I think and feel that many of the boys in big/top schools are generally more talented because of their surroundings and the school’s infrastructure. What needs to be added is that there are boys hungry for those sort of opportunities and who are willing to give what it takes, and in many instances they are the boys who excel because of their work ethic and desire to achieve.

rugbyscsa: What, to you, are non-negotiable (and why) for any schools rugby conditioning program?

RR: I think the fact that boys aren’t managed right. Most top rugby boys are talented in another sport, whether it being cricket, athletics, water polo etc. The coaches in those sports expect the most of that boy, so to manage the boys and teaching him to plan is of vital essence. We all know that they are still schoolboys…

 rugbyscsa: What are some of the most common mistake you see in schools rugby conditioning?

RR: I feel every group of boys are different so to say something is a mistake could be a fine line. The work-on is perhaps to bridge what the boys are going to be exposed to at unions and in schools to as close as possible. Small variants such as prehab, functional strength and power, recovery etc.

rugbyscsa: Can you give us a short overview of the gym progression you would use form u14-u19 players?

RR: Please, I need to emphasize that my thoughts and ideas are not generally cast and stone… U/14 & 15 boys need to purely focus on techniques work, isometric strength, core, stabilizing and mobility. From the age of 16 boys get slowly introduced to light volume and power techniques work. Boys 17-19 are fully operational in a controlled environment.

 rugbyscsa: What are your current go-to resources for educating yourself?

RR: Books, research, contacts, courses & unions. My motto is that you could never be too old to learn. The S&C loops and ways change constantly and one needs to try and be on top of things.

rugbyscsa: If you could train any other sports code, what would it be and why?

RR: Cricket. I have a great love for the sport and being involved in a team sport always brings out the best of the players. The variability of players within the players will also be a nice challenge.

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