Stormers coach John Dobson says his team would need a full pre-season to be properly conditioned for any domestic resumption of Vodacom Super Rugby.
The South African franchises have been in limbo since mid-March after the 2020 Super Rugby season was provisionally suspended amid the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It now looks likely that South Africa and Australia will follow New Zealand’s example and hold a domestic tournament with their four Super Rugby franchises when it is safe to do so.
New Zealand Rugby has already announced that its domestic version of Super Rugby, called Super Rugby Aotearoa, will get under way from 13 June. The competition will feature the five Super Rugby clubs playing each other home and away over 10 weeks.
‘I think that’s fantastic,’ Dobson said on New Zealand’s resumption of rugby. ‘We are jealous as vipers. I think they have got a rate of under 10 or something per day of new cases. So, we appreciate that we are way off that. It’s nice, because it gives us some hope. But I think we are way off.’
Dobson added that while South Africa’s infection rate means that it could still be a long wait until the country can resume sporting action, the Stormers have been following World Rugby’s guidelines in educating themselves about the coronavirus and properly preparing their facilities.
‘The problem, which is a more practical one for us, is conditioning,’ he said. ‘When we started this lockdown after that last round of Super Rugby against the Sharks, we were looking at three weeks and then getting back to work. You had to keep that guys at, let’s say, level eight of physical preparedness. Now we are having to take them right down.
‘There was a formula of two-to-one. So if you were off for two weeks, you would take one week to get ready to play again. Now that has been dramatically extended by the fact that we have now as of this week had a full traditional off-season. So, we are now going to need a full pre-season. That’s where we probably not as prepared. We were keeping players on a short readiness and now we are pulling them right back to look at muscular-skeletal, long-term strength stuff.
‘The problem is just by the length of the layoff and prognosis in South Africa, we are going to have to have almost a full pre-season before we are ready physically to play again.’
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