Springboks 'in great shape'

2010-10-05 14:55
Bismarck du Plessis (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The Springbok conditioning and medical team declared themselves happy with the physical conditioning of the contracted Springbok players at the end of a month-long conditioning phase.

GALLERY: Springboks undergo physical conditioning

The contracted Boks attended two days of testing at the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town on Monday and Tuesday. Not taking part in the full range of tests were the rehabilitating John Smit, Fourie du Preez, Andries Bekker and Heinrich Brüssow as well as the injured JP Pietersen (hamstring).

The tests measured speed, strength, agility and the players’ likely susceptibility to injury as well as their heights and weights.

“This conditioning phase has worked as well as we could ever have hoped,” said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

“The guys have come back refreshed and hungry for rugby and have given us food for thought for our selection process now.”

Neels Liebel, conditioning coach, said: “The players are in great shape and a number of personal bests have been set by them. Considering the stage of the season it has been very pleasing and a lot of the credit must go to the players and particularly the conditioning coaches at the provincial unions who have really helped make this happen.

“CJ van der Linde, Bismarck du Plessis, Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw all set personal bests in strength tests while Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie were the quickest we have ever tested at sea level and someone like Adi Jacobs tested really well in all aspects.”

Individual programmes were tailored to each player to assist in injury prevention. Springbok physiotherapist Rene Naylor uses an injury assessment protocol that identifies areas of injury risk in individual players.

“The work the players have done with their conditioning coaches has been very encouraging and the average injury risk profile of the squad has dropped by 21%,” she said.

Team doctor Craig Roberts said the testing had also allowed the medical staff to assess players with long-term injuries and that their rehabilitation remained firmly on course.

The Springbok squad for the end-of-year tour will be announced following the Currie Cup final on October 30.

The Springboks play the first of four tests against Ireland in Dublin on November 6. They also play Wales (November 13), Scotland (November 20) and England (November 27) before concluding with a match against the Barbarians at Twickenham on December 4.

Schalk Burger shows off his impressive strength at the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town (Gallo Images)

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