Key Boks to be managed

Saru has reached an agreement with the South African franchises to manage the game time of key Springboks during the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.

The players' game time will be assessed on an individual basis in an effort to ensure the Springboks enter the World Cup in the best possible shape. Saru CEO Jurie Roux said the ground-breaking agreement will play an important role in giving the Boks the best possible chance in England.

'We are extremely grateful to the Super Rugby franchises for agreeing to assist in ensuring our key players’ game time is managed in the buildup to the World Cup,' said Roux. 'It’s wonderful to know we have the support and co-operation of the franchises as the Springboks prepare for the World Cup and we’d like to wish them all the best for the forthcoming months of Super Rugby.

'It’s a massive year for rugby and we’re confident that our franchises can set the tone for the 2015 season by being competitive from the word go as the players aim to impress the national selectors to make it to the World Cup.'

The managing of the key players’ game time will exclude any play-off matches as well as the bye weeks, while it has also been agreed that no player will play more than five consecutive weeks.

Saru also announced that Prof Pieter Kruger, who holds a PhD in clinical and performance psychology from the North West University, will join the Springbok team management as performance psychologist for the duration of the 2015 season.

Kruger has worked with, among others, the Leopards, Pukke, Brumbies, Harlequins, as well as the Chelsea and Arsenal football clubs. Most recently he was part of the Lions management during their 2014 Super Rugby and Currie Cup campaigns.

'It’s great to have Pieter on board and I know he will make a huge difference for the Springboks,' said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. 'Pieter will be attending to both team and individual aspects with a key focus on performance processes.

'He will work closely with the coaches to optimise team and individual performance under pressure and will use the latest intervention strategies in the field of cognitive behavioural psychology to achieve this.'

The Springboks will get their season underway against a World XV in Cape Town on 11 July, a week after the Super Rugby final. The match was initially scheduled for late August.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images