Johannesburg - All Black No 8 Rodney So’oialo will miss the first week of this year’s Vodacom Super 14 competition.
So’oialo has been sent back to the gym to work on his conditioning, hoping to add to his significant size and strength after stepping down as Hurricanes captain earlier this week.
The All Black has been put on a three week strength and conditioning programme that will keep him solely in the gym, something backed by Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper.
"What happens with Rodney is he is so ruthless that he gives it all in every game and then he gets dinged up and at times he can't do his strength programme," Cooper told The Dominion Post.
"Of course, when you do that, you lose your strength and with Rodney he loses size. Some guys go big, but he's in the position where, because of his wear and tear in the game, it affects his conditioning."
Cooper said So’oialo was willing to play in the pre-season matches, but it was felt that he would serve a better purpose by conditioning more before the start of the season.
"We need to be smart about how we work with him. He lost weight during the Super 14 because he was being played [every week] and of course because he was so dinged up he wasn't doing his strength and conditioning, so he lost size and strength.
"By the end of the Super 14 his performance wasn't where he wanted it to be, so this [year] we want to manage that to make sure he's the best he can be for the whole competition.
"He's already seeing the results going into his second week. We want him 108kg plus, but he's been dropping down to 103kg. If we can get him back up over 108kg again it's only going to make him more brutal and we all know what sort of performance he will then produce."
"Once you start playing then you get injured, you get put back in your strength and conditioning.
"We've made a decision jointly between Rodney and myself that, to get him in the best condition, he needs to be on a separate programme.
"It will count him out for the Brumbies, the Chiefs and the first competition game. He will be available for play for the second match against the Force."