Springbok coach not wasting time
JOHANNESBURG – Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber hopes his 46-player squad snap into action immediately in training ahead of their Test matches against Georgia and the British and Irish Lions series.
The Springboks are also hoping to find out more about the ankle injury suffered by Duane Vermeulen, who limped off the field during the Bulls’ Pro14 Rainbow Cup SA clash with the Stormers on Friday.
Vermeulen was part of the squad announced on Saturday, the Tests against Georgia (on July 2 and 9), the clash between the South Africa ‘A’ team and British & Irish Lions (July 14) and the three internationals against the Lions (24 and 31 July 24 and 31 and August 7).
The Springboks, who will be led by 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi, will kick off their preparations with a three-week conditioning camp in Bloemfontein.
The first batch of players arrived in the Free State capital on Sunday, with the overseas-based players set to join the squad as they complete their club commitments.
“The key for us going into the camp is to ensure that we implement our structures as quickly as possible and make sure that everyone is aligned,” said Nienaber.
“With 29 Rugby World Cup players in the group we hope to make good progress fairly quickly. The most important factor, however, is to get the foundations in place and reach the required standards, and then we can build from there.”
Nienaber added: “I am very excited about this squad.
“For the last 18 months we have been watching their matches, sending them game clips and engaging with them about their performances from a distance, so I am looking forward to working with the players directly, especially with such an exciting season ahead.”
With the first Test against Georgia less than four weeks away, Nienaber said it was vital to build momentum from the outset in preparation for the massive challenge against the British & Irish Lions.
“It is important to build rhythm and confidence from the onset, so we will select our best available team for the first Test against Georgia – we haven’t played a Test since the World Cup final, so cohesion will be vital.”
African News Agency (ANA)