RWC no distraction in Super Rugby

    2015-05-19 11:59

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - While South African players from three unions are fighting for playoff places in Super Rugby this season, there is also the small matter of 2015 being a World Cup year.

    The international showpiece takes place in September and October in England, and with a Bok training camp earlier this month seeing in excess of 40 players taking part (while many didn’t train), time is running out for players to put their hands up and command Heyneke Meyer’s attention.

    And so, with Super Rugby approaching its business end, how does a player focus wholeheartedly on his franchise when at least part of his mind is likely to be occupied with staying fit and in form for the World Cup?

    According to Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, franchise success and World Cup selection go hand-in-hand.

    “We understand that it’s a World Cup year and that it’s massively important for the players to get into the World Cup squad,” said Coetzee.

    “But it’s our duty as a franchise to do well. When we do well, and we finish in the playoffs and we go all the way in this competition … do you think you will not have a look-in in the Bok selection?

    “But if you don’t do well and you finish in a poor streak then no one looks at you as an individual. It’s important for the team to function for the individual to look good and get recognised.”

    The Stormers boss added that the presence of senior players in his squad had made the adjustment of a World Cup year easier.

    “It’s good to have players who have been there and done it before. Schalk has been (to a World Cup) and they (experienced players) know it is important for them (the other players) to perform here,” said Coetzee.

    “You can’t cruise now and then think you’re going to hit your straps in a World Cup – it’s a different competition altogether.”

    The Stormers take on the Rebels at Newlands on Saturday, kick-off is at 19:10. 

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