Cape Town - New Southern Kings squad members have been warned to report to their new franchise in peak physical condition.
The majority of the Kings squad started with their pre-season preparations in Port Elizabeth this month, with conditioning coach Nadus Nieuwoudt stressing the importance of starting early.
Earlier this month, the Kings named a provisional 29-man squad ahead of the 2018/19 PRO14 season.
Newcomers to the Kings squad include scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, locks JC Astle and Schalk Oelofse and Fijian flyer Meli Rokoua.
The newbies will however only join their new team-mates next month.
“We’ve sent training programmes to the players who still have to report. They will be evaluated at the beginning of July. They know what we’re doing at the moment and it’s their responsibility to not fall behind,” Nieuwoudt told Netwerk24.
Nieuwoudt said the Kings struggled in their debut season in the PRO14 because the squad did not have time to follow a training regime before their first match.
The Kings won only one out of 21 games in their debut season.
“It’s a long season that lasts eight months and there are many times when you’re travelling and can’t train. Therefore, right now every moment where we pay attention to conditioning is of utmost importance," the fitness guru added.
Pretorius earlier this year confirmed he would join the Kings from Welsh side Dragons, while Astle and Oelofse both return to the Kings from a two-year stint at French club Mont-de-Marsan.
Rokoua, who can play wing and centre, has represented Fiji’s sevens side and was highly rated in Portugal where he played for the Agronomia club.
Southern Kings’ provisional squad:
JC Astle, Masixole Banda, Tienie Burger, Pieter de Klerk, Bobby de Wee, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Martin Dreyer, Schalk Ferreira, Justin Forwood, Harlon Klaasen, Berton Klaasen, Ruaan Lerm, Michael Makase, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Andisa Ntsila, Schalk Oelofse, Yaw Penxe, Sarel Pretorius, Luvuyo Pupuma, Meli Rokoua, Pieter Scholtz, Sibusiso Sithole, Alandre van Rooyen, Rudi van Rooyen, Dries van Schalkwyk, Jurie van Vuuren, CJ Velleman, Michael Willemse, Oliver Zono