Emile Hertz spends most of his week putting up the signs on Jamie Oliver’s new restaurants, and he’s pointing the way in his Saturday job too – as coach of Enfield Ignatians.
Having steered Old Ashmoleans to several promotions, the South African took charge of Enfield last season and set about swapping their ten-man brand of rugby for a more open and adventurous approach. Getting the squad in for pre-season a month early gave them the fitness base to launch themselves on London Two North-East, a league in which they’ve invariably (and curiously) finished either fifth or eighth over the past seven seasons.
Not this time. The young Enfield team – the oldest back is 26 – has taken to the challenge magnificently, recording a club record 14-match unbeaten run and reaching the South-East final of the Intermediate Cup. Promotion, via a play-off, is a realistic target.
“I can have ideas but the players are the ones who do it, and they’ve responded with massive energy,” says Hertz, 34. “Against Chelmsford we scored eight tries and they were shared by the wings, full-back and outside-centre.”
Wings Tan Mbonu and Dannan O’Meachair head the try list, Tom Price completing a back three arguably without equal in the division. Setting the standards up front are flankers Tom Moore and Richard Laurence, as well as prop Christo Kasabi, ex-Saracens Amateurs and Cyprus’s second most-capped player. Skills coaching has also paid dividends for the side, who draw many of their players from local schools Enfield Grammar and St Ignatius College. Enfield Ignatians are our February Team of the Month and win 22 kitbags from Canterbury.
Check out January’s Team of the Month
This article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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