Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is very satisfied with the results of the Springbok medical and conditioning assessment camp which took place over a four-day period and was concluded in Cape Town on Thursday.
Eleven Springbok players attended the camp, which Coetzee described as an important part of the Springboks’ overall preparations for the upcoming Castle Lager Outgoing Tours to Europe.
“We had a similar camp before the Castle Lager Rugby Championship and I am pleased to once more say that this camp was a very good, productive exercise and that I am delighted that we achieved our goals for the week,” said Coetzee.
According to the Springbok coach, the brief but important get together will be of great benefit for the team’s forthcoming European tour, which consists of Tests against Ireland, France, Italy and Wales on consecutive Saturdays. The Boks’ first Test is against Ireland on 11 November in Dublin.
“This group of players were last in action almost three weeks ago against New Zealand in Cape Town, so apart from the much needed rest, it is also very important that they are rugby ready when the full squad gets together next week in Johannesburg,” explained Coetzee.
“The challenges are obviously completely different to what we faced against France in June and during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship. So the manner in which we prepare before and during the tour is very important.”
During their time together, the players focussed on sharpening their core skills and spent a lot of time on the technical aspects of their tour preparations.
According to Dr Konrad von Hagen, the Springbok team doctor, the main aim of the get together was to assess the medical status of the group and to top up on their strength and conditioning levels.
“The players enjoyed two weeks of active rest after the conclusion of a very demanding Castle Lager Rugby Championship, which also included a huge amount of long distance travel,” explained Dr Von Hagen.
“The third week (this week), we used to reassess their medical status and focussed on fine-tuning their strength and conditioning.”
Handré Pollard and Eben Etzebeth both sustained concussion against New Zealand and they are currently busy with their final return to play protocols. Etzebeth twisted his ankle during a training session and as a precaution he was taken for an MRI scan, which revealed a low grade ligament injury, but he should be available for the first tour match.
Meanwhile, coach Coetzee also had some words of encouragement for the Cell C Sharks and the DHL Western Province teams, who are contesting this year’s Currie Cup final on Saturday in Durban.
“I want to congratulate both sides for reaching the 2017 Currie Cup final,” said the Springbok coach.
“The match is one of the highlights of the rugby calendar and a real showcase of local rugby talent. Both provinces have several current Springbok squad members or Bok candidates in their teams and I want to wish them both well for the final.”
Coetzee will announce his Springbok squad of 34 players on Sunday, a day after the Currie Cup final, and the squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon.
The following players attended the Springbok assessment camp in Cape Town:
Handré Pollard, Lood de Jager, Jesse Kriel, Trevor Nyakane (all Vodacom Blue Bulls), Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Damian de Allende (all DHL Western Province), Beast Mtawarira and Coenie Oosthuizen (both Cell C Sharks).