Cape Town - The Springbok training squad wrapped up preparations for their year-end tour to the United Kingdom and France with an early morning training session in Stellenbosch on Friday, with coach Rassie Erasmus declaring the camp a success.
Twenty players spent the last five days training in Stellenbosch, where the Springbok coaches were able to work with the players on a daily basis to sharpen their readiness for the challenging tour of four Test matches.
Erasmus said his coaching and conditioning staff tried to simulate high-intensity, match-like conditions during training because they will have to hit the ground running when they face England next week in front of 80 000 spectators at Twickenham.
SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby addressed the media on Friday, expressing his satisfaction with the outcome of the camp.
“Looking back at the week’s training here in Stellenbosch, I’m glad to say that objectives of the camp have been met,” said Erasmus.
“I think the challenge for us this week was to make sure the players reach match intensity, because you cannot just pitch up next week against England and think that after (a break of) two weeks you’re going to be able to reach that level of match intensity.
“We tried to simulate match intensity while we also worked on many tactical things which we think England will bring to the match, and which are totally different from what we faced against New Zealand.”
It is with match readiness and intensity in mind that Erasmus therefore thinks it is a very good thing for some of the players, who are in the line for Springbok selection, to be playing in the Currie Cup final in Cape Town.
Kick-off in the final of the Currie Cup Premier Division is at 16:00 on Saturday, with Western Province and the Sharks battling it out for the famous trophy.
“I think it’s awesome and if it was logistically possible I would actually have preferred for more of the Springboks to be playing in the Currie Cup,” said Erasmus.
“Sometimes a two-week break is perhaps not the right thing before a long tour where you will be playing against teams who are in the middle of their season.”
The final Springbok tour squad will be named on Saturday at approximately 19:00.