Jacques Nienaber is delighted at the form of the European-based Boks and has revealed how Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU have given him insights into what the All Blacks and Wallabies will bring in the Rugby Championship.
In his column for issue 44 of Springbok magazine, the Springbok coach writes about South Africa’s preparation for the Rugby Championship, the overseas Boks’ form and the return to full-contact training on the local front.
‘Hi rugby friends, I trust that you are well and keeping safe during this challenging time. Please allow me to firstly say a big thank you to all the health and essential workers who have worked heroically and tirelessly in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.’
‘We appreciate your efforts and are immensely proud of you – remember we are #StrongerTogether!
‘At the time of writing, our franchise teams have been allowed to return to non-contact training and the next step towards resuming competitions will be full-contact training.
‘Meanwhile, it was great to watch the full-blooded action of the Super Rugby Aotearoa between the five New Zealand sides, where the Crusaders once more showed their dominance despite some great competition from their fellow Kiwi rivals.
‘The Australian version was similarly good to watch – not only to see some live rugby competition – but it also gave us some valuable insights into what these two countries have to offer from a domestic and international competitions’ perspective.
‘From our point of view, the Springbok coaching staff have obviously cast more than an interested eye over the action in both countries as we plan for the rest of the season.
‘Furthermore, we were delighted to see a number of our current Springboks, as well a fair number of players we have earmarked for a wider training group, having returned to action in the northern hemisphere, most notably in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, while those based in France will also shortly return to action.
‘So, while we are hoping to hear very soon of our plans for the rest of the year here in South Africa, the Springbok coaching staff are continuing with our planning and logistic preparations on various fronts.
‘Fortunately, virtual meetings make it nowadays easy and convenient to gather a large group of players online at regular intervals where the coaching, medical and conditioning staff can interact with them to discuss various important aspects of our Springbok preparations such as analysis, training and recovery and protocols, nutritional requirements and so on.
‘Locally, despite being out of action since mid-March, I think the players have done a really good job when you look at the dedication and sheer grit of them sticking to their individual training programmes during the lockdown.
‘As Bok coaches we are as eager as they are to return to action, which we hope will happen soon – and once our franchises are back in competitive action (obviously considering the regulations from government), hopefully we will be in a position to resume some form of Test action in green and gold.
‘That’s it from me – please do your bit to make sure we stop the spread of the virus and do remember to practise social distancing.
‘Until next time, take care and be safe out there.’
Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Gallo Images