One of Maties Rugby’s legendary players is expanding his status as a legend…this time outside the whitewashed lines.
Craig Barry is a former Maties captain and as a player he participated in five Varsity Cup tournaments, played in 41 matches, and scored 16 tries. His last tournament was in 2018. This year he found himself again in the Danie Craven Stadium on Monday evenings. This time as part of the Maties Rugby coaching team.
With the Varsity Cup tournament, his role was that of backline coach and he also looked at the team’s attacking plans. Currently he is the first team’s assistant coach.
“Look, it was a different experience to be involved with the Varsity Cup, but not as a player. The one big lesson I learned is the importance of communication. Especially with how the message is conveyed to players. Before, I was the one who received the message and had to carry it out. Now I must deliver the message. It’s quite a challenging task,” says Barry.
“It is extremely important to build a base of trust with the players. You must find out how they think. Not only about rugby, but also about life. Every player is different.”
According to Barry, he was not sure if he would get the opportunity to be part of the coaching team with this year’s tournament. He initially thought the positions were already filled.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn more. At the beginning I just watched and took it all in, but over time I got more responsibilities and so I gained experience and grew in my role.”
Although the campaign did not go according to plan, there was a highlight or two for Barry.
“For me it was nice to see how we make plans during the week and then execute it on the field of play. There are few things as beautiful as a plan coming together!”
Barry believes the fact that not too long ago he was still in action for Maties counts in his favour.
“I played for Maties in the Varsity Cup tournament and the age gap with the players is not too big yet! It helps me build relationships with the players. For me, the ultimate goal is not only to help the players improve on the field of play, but also to help them be better people out there in the world…”
Barry’s role is still part-time, but he hopes to get a more permanent position in the future.
“I would like to take on more responsibility. Hopefully this is just the beginning of another long road with Maties.”