Discipline and an undeniable hunger to return to their glory days led to SK Walmer RFC reclaiming their place in the Super League A (SLA) of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU).
Having spent a season in the lower division, SLB, that was nothing short of a trial by fire.
An unfortunate dip in form saw them languishing at the bottom of the SLA table a season ago. Relegation was inevitable, and they had to face the harsh reality of life in the lower division.
“Life after relegation was hard, we had to pick ourselves up and plan how we were going to keep the current players as well as how we were going back to Super A,” said Ashieq Wise, SK Walmer head coach.
The club chose to see this as an opportunity to rebuild, rediscover themselves, and prove their mettle once again.
“We started planning in September 2022, sat down, plotted our off and pre-season. Who were (we) going to keep the make-up of the squad needed for Super B and the challenges we would face? We sat with the players as a group and individually and laid our plans out for them,“ said Wise.
Wise will hope their winning habits carry on in the new campaign. This season they separated themselves from the SLB clubs by emerging victorious in 13 out of their 14 games.
The defining moment of their triumphant return to the SLA came in the semi-finals when they faced off against Hand and Heart, winning 50-7 on Saturday.
Their final game is against CPUT for league glory, with both teams having secured their promotion.
Wise says having done the hard part of regaining their SLA status, the plan going forward is clear: to not be complacent but do all they can to not find themselves in the same predicament come the end of the season.
He also wanted to show gratitude to the management and the players of the club for sticking together and working towards their goal.
Going forward, he laughingly says first thing’s first: “Not to get relegated”, but to be in a much better position and challenge for the top positions in the SLA. A goal he knows very well will not be easy with the level of competition they will be faced with.
But the young blood coming through their system in this rebuilding period will look to make their names in the game, taking the side to the highest level they possibly can.