Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has raised concerns about the freshness of a number of his players.
The Boks laboured to a 31-30 victory over Wales in Nelspruit just a week after putting them to the sword at Kings Park. Following the match Meyer praised the character of his team, but also made mention of the fact that they seem to be suffering with a bit of fatigue.
'I'm really worried about the state of my players,' said Meyer. 'I don't want to make excuses, but I've never seen the players so tired at this time of the year.'
That this should be the case just two weeks into the Test season should set off the alarm bells, with the Rugby Championship and end-of-year tour still to come.
Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis shared his coach's sentiments.
'I can only talk about my experience with the Sharks, but we played eight games in a row coming into the Tests in June, four of those away from home. And the intensity increases from one week to the next, it never gets easier.
'But we've been through this before. The fact of the matter is that in Durban we created them; this week, we didn't do that. The challenge for us is to keep on doing this because it's not going to be less intense this coming week or the next.'
The Springboks will close out the June Tests against Scotland this Saturday before the players return to their franchises for the Super Rugby run-in. With just two weeks left in the regular season, Meyer will be hoping his players come through unscathed and he can start planning ahead for the Rugby Championship.
There is still a lot of rugby to be played between now and the end of the year and Meyer will need to find a way to keep his players fighting fit for the Tests that lay ahead.
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