Springboks filling in gaps as they await arrival of 13 players
Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber says his training squad is progressing well as they finished the second week of their preparation camp in Pretoria, despite the lack of personnel in camp.
The Boks – who are preparing for a three Test series with Wales – are waiting on the arrival on a contingent of Bulls and the Stormers players who have the small matter of a URC final in Cape Town this weekend.
Nienaber said he was pleased with the players’ progress from the first to the second week of camp, although he conceded earlier this week that they had to be creative in training due to a restricted number of players available, forcing numerous players to play in new roles.
“One could see the difference in the quality and intensity of our training sessions this week, so we are pleased with the strides made,” Nienaber told the press today. “The players are grasping what we would like to see in terms of the detail in our patterns and systems, and that is very encouraging for us with our opening Test against Wales in two weeks.
“The guys have been working hard on and off the field and it was great to see their keenness to help out in positions where needed, so that we could get the best out of our training sessions.”
Nienaber is confident that the addition of the URC finalists will add hugely to the camp that he’s already convened. A group of 13 players are expected join the squad, including the likes of veteran props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe, as well as several uncapped players including Salmaan Moerat, Ruan Nortje, Evan Roos, Elrigh Louw, and Kurt-Lee Arendse.
“We are looking forward to welcoming a number of players from the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls next week, and we believe it will add a new dimension to the squad in terms of having several experienced players back as well as some new players at camp,” said Nienaber.
“We are very excited to have two teams contest the Vodacom URC final and knowing that one of them will be crowned the champions is fantastic. The experience the players will gain from playing in a final will bode well for them as individuals, and for us as a national squad, and I’d like to wish all of them good luck for the final.
“They will also enter the camp match fit and in a good space from a confidence perspective, so we are looking forward to returning to the training field after a good break this weekend and we believe we will take things up a notch with an eye on the Wales Tests. So, there is a lot to look forward to.”
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