Enthusiastic Boks have 'solid foundations'
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was satisfied with the strides made in the opening week of the team’s preparation camp for the international season.
The players concluded their on-field sessions on Friday, before a short break for the weekend – as the three Tests against Wales draw closer.
Seventeen players were invited to the first week of the camp.
Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf) and Johan Goosen (flyhalf) focused on rehabilitation from their injuries, as the Stormers and Bulls prepared for their United Rugby Championship semifinals this weekend.
The week comprised of a few training and gym sessions, as well as team and coaches’ meetings off the field to ensure that everyone was aligned in terms of the team’s goals for the week and the season.
The players will have the weekend off and will reassemble on Sunday for the second week of the preparation camp.
“Our focus was on the fundamental skills this week as we had a limited number of players in Pretoria,” the Bok coach said.
“We are satisfied with the foundation laid and we are excited about the next few weeks after seeing the players’ enthusiasm and energy levels on the field,” Nienaber added.
“We obviously had to manage some of the players’ workload, especially the “Sharks players following their exit from the URC last weekend.
“However, this was part of our planning from the outset and we believe the strides made this week will be beneficial as we continue our preparations with three weeks to go before our opening Test against Wales.”
Nienaber said the Bok coaches were prepared for all possible scenarios regarding player availability next week depending on the Stormers and Bulls’ progress in the URC competition.
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“We are expecting the size of our training squad to grow in the next few weeks, and we are ready for any eventuality,” said Nienaber.
“We obviously want our South African teams to perform well and advance to the URC final, and nothing substitutes game time and pressure like play-off rugby, especially in such a tough competition.
“At the same time, every training session we have with the available players will benefit us with an eye on the Incoming Series, so we will take each scenario as it plays out while ensuring that we maintain the highest possible standards so that we are as prepared as possible for the international season.”
Nienaber will name a squad of close to 42 players for the international season, which kicks off with three Tests against Wales – in Pretoria (July 2), Bloemfontein (July 9) and Cape Town (July 16).
This will be followed by back-to-back home Tests against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship, a tour to Australia and Argentina, and a Test against the Pumas in Durban in September in their final match of the competition.