“WE’VE certainly won the week with regards to our preparation,” says Northwood first XV head coach Torsten Sorensen. “The boys have really been exceptional. The fact that we never got to play Michaelhouse last weekend (a lightning warning forced the match to be abandoned before kick-off) has given the boys renewed energy and focus.”
The preparations Torsten refers to were towards getting on the front foot from the kick-off in the once-a-year Durban North derby against Clifton, which kicks off at 1.10pm on Riverside Sports Club’s premier rugby paddock.
‘There’s a healthy rivalry due to our proximity… the boys know each other well’
“Our team medical officer Richard Tyler and strength and conditioning head Simon Vickers have been outstanding in this regard and those injured players have followed a strict and rigorous process in order to return quickly but, more important, safely.
“We have our 8th man Ranger Mfakadolo (featured image) back from a 2-week injury layoff as well as our winger Lina Majola. Both add tremendous value. We have sadly lost our loosehead prop Aston Sparks to a concussion two weeks ago.”
This is Torsten’s first derby as head coach. The rugby man through and through that is Torsten-Erik Sorensen (of Danish heritage) was assistant to Grant Bashford in 2016 and Dick Muir in 2017.
For a man so passionate about the sport, coaching was clearly the next avenue, the journey taking him to Westville Boys’ High in 2006 – where he stayed until 2015. The Great Dane coached the Westville 1st XV in the years 2012 to 2014. The move to Northwood came in 2016, as an assistant to Bashy (Grant Bashford) then Dick Muir.
“I was appointed head coach by Dick when he left to join the Sharks last year.”
“Our brand is high tempo and skillful. We are very fortunate to have Grant Bashford as our director of coaching. His vast experience at Super Rugby level as well as his great relationships with many of rugby’s top current coaches around the globe have allowed us to be at the cutting edge of the modern game.
“From our training regime, to our conditioning and patterns of play we are very up to date with what many of the top New Zealand franchises are doing. Just this week we were rubbing shoulders with the Chiefs coaches and conditioning staff and this reinforced our belief that what we are doing is right.”
When it comes to today’s opponents, is it clear that the Northwood head coach has much respect for the school.
“I admire the Clifton ethos and the culture of individual excellence that they drive. Their boys are always extremely well mannered and proud of their school. They have a very experienced coaching staff, many of whom I’ve worked with in the past. “(Clifton head coach) Ross (Saayman) has lots of experience and has been with Clifton for many years now.”
“I’ve worked under their current director of rugby Grant Bell whilst at Westville Boys… Grant is an astute, experienced coach with a tremendous rugby brain. We certainly will not go into this game complacent. We can expect a well-coached team.”Thanks for your time, Torsten – the much-appreciated insight into Northwood’s prep for today’s derby as well as the respect you have for Clifton.
KZN10.com wishes Northwood and Clifton all the best for today’s Durban North derby.