Boks under no illusions about All Black challenge
INTERVIEW: The Springboks kicked off their one-week training camp, for the Rugby Championship, in Hazyview on Monday.
The focus this week will be solely on improving their game, as they prepare for back-to-back Tests against New Zealand – in Nelspruit on August 6 and Ellis Park a week later – in a challenging start to the Southern Hemisphere showpiece.
A squad of 41 players assembled on Sunday and they got down to business on Monday morning with a review of the series against Wales and a status check on what areas the team need to improve on as they look forward to the Rugby Championship.
Following the two Tests against the All Blacks, the Boks will embark on a three-match tour to Australia and Argentina.
They will then return to South Africa for the closing match of their campaign against the Pumas in Durban on Saturday, September 24.
The team set the tone for the week with an early morning gym session and their first field training session later in the afternoon.
“This week our focus will be mainly on where we are as a team and what we need to improve on before the Rugby Championship,” said Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick.
“There are a number of areas that we feel we need to be more effective in going into this competition, and we had a good look at those aspects of our game in our team meetings on Monday and started working on finetuning them.
“We are under no illusions about the challenge ahead against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
“We’ve learned over the years that we will be tested in every Test match, so this week is all about us and improving as a team, and we will turn our focus more toward preparing specifically for the New Zealand Test next week.”
Stick said intensity and accuracy were crucial this week.
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“As coaches we discussed the importance of being as accurate as possible at training and maintaining a high level of intensity throughout the week so that we can gain as much as possible out of this training camp.
“It is vital that we achieve what we set out to at each training session so that we can be as effective as possible in those aspects of play when we take the field.”
Stick added: “It is great to see the focus in the squad, and it is clear that everyone is expecting a massive challenge during this Rugby Championship campaign.”
The team will spend the week in Hazyview and will make the short trip to Nelspruit on Friday, before kicking off the competition next weekend at the Mbombela Stadium.