Assistant coach Louis Koen says the Junior Springboks have taken big strides in their preparation for the upcoming U20 World Championship.
The squad wrapped up their training camp in Stellenbosch on Wednesday and will have a short break before they re-assemble on 21 May for a holding camp.
Koen says the team is on track in terms of where they wanted to be two weeks before departing for Argentina.
‘We made huge gains in the last two weeks in terms of our conditioning and our systems, so we are exactly where we wanted to be at this stage,’ explained Koen. ‘The boys will have a break now, which I think they really need, and when they come back, we can put some detailed preparation into our first pool match against Scotland.’
‘This is a tough tournament, with five games in total and matches every four days, so you need to be well conditioned and you need to be mentally tough to win it. Our training has been very good since we arrived back from the UK.
‘The focus was on conditioning and scrum conditioning for the forwards, and we also put a huge amount of work into the set pieces, so it has been a challenging two weeks for the players. But I think we succeeded in increasing their mental strength.’
He added that the players were excited about the challenge that awaits in Argentina, especially following the early announcement of the 28-man squad.
‘Announcing the U20 Championship squad made a big difference, because it erased all the uncertainty about selection and the players could focus on being a team,’ Koen explained.
‘There was definitely a change in execution and the mindset once the team was announced, and one can see the players are excited. They just want to play now, and that is a good sign.’