Camp attitude stuns Heyneke
Pretoria - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer says he is stunned by the attitude of the players after the first four-day Springbok Planning Camp in Pretoria.
GALLERY: Lions and Cheetahs at first Springbok Planning Camp
A group of 30 players from the Cheetahs and the Lions assembled this week as part of preparations of the incoming tour against England in June.
The camps, planned in accordance with the franchises' bye weekends during the Super Rugby competition, focused on theoretical planning and a few field sessions.
"I am overwhelmed. I had expectations of the week, and I was excited going into this week," Meyer said.
"I was overwhelmed by the attitude of these players. It is unbelievable and you can't believe they are in the middle of Super Rugby, and played seven or eight hard games and a few warm-up games."
Meyer said he found the enthusiasm of the players encouraging and he was focusing on their positive attitudes rather than their reputations.
"Sometimes you don't go with the big names and the best players because what matters to me is the attitude, and the guys who really want to play for South Africa," he said.
"It is great to see the attitude of the players, and what's also been great for me was I that was worried that I didn't have enough time before England, so I thought we could get at least one or two things in place."
Meyer, who replaced Peter de Villiers at the helm after the Springboks were eliminated in the quarter-finals of last year's Rugby World Cup, said he was impressed with the players' quick grasp of what was expected of them. He also commended the franchise coaches for the work they had done.
"We've covered a lot of things, a lot of theory, and getting onto the field the players were quick to understand what we want from them," Meyer said.
"That just shows you that back at their franchises there is a lot of coaching and I think a lot of our coaches have gone up another level in rugby intelligence.
"So I am very happy with the camp. It was a great experience."
The second Planning Camp will be held next week with players from the Bulls and the Sharks, who both have Super Rugby byes, while the third camp will take place in Cape Town with Stormers players in the first week of May.
The SA Rugby Union (SARU) has invited a total of 45 players from the Bulls and the Sharks to the second camp.
"The mere fact that the players didn't think twice about sacrificing their rest week to come up to Pretoria to plan for the season ahead, says a lot about the psyche of our players here in South Africa and it's something that I'm very happy with," Meyer said.
"I know we'll have the same vibe next week when the Sharks and Bulls players come together, as well as in Cape Town early in May when we work with the Stormers."