PRO14

Cheetahs stress importance of conditioning during lockdown

Hawies Fourie (Gallo Images)
Hawies Fourie (Gallo Images)

They may not be playing any rugby at present, but the Cheetahs are making sure they remain in the best possible shape.

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The PRO14 tournament is currently suspended and it's looking increasingly likely that the 2019/2020 season will not be completed due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.

However, SA Rugby has formulated plans of a local domestic competition if the country's lockdown restrictions for sports events are lifted.

That would see the Cheetahs, long with their PRO14 counterparts the Southern Kings, compete against South Africa's four Super Rugby outfits, the Sharks, Stormers, Bulls and Lions.

Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie said the players have worked hard at their conditioning during the lockdown.

"There is obviously uncertainty around certain competitions, but that has not stopped us from continuing to put in the hard yards," Fourie said in quotes published on the Cheetahs' official website.

"The key for us now is to build on our fitness levels, so every player has a training programme that they need to follow. It has been good to see how innovative they have been, especially given the different circumstances with some of them on farms and others in apartments. 

"The players regularly send through videos and have been motivating one another, which has been great. We know where each player was in terms of their fitness and strength before the lockdown, so they know what targets they have to reach when they return, although strength training could be a challenge because of the lack of weights at home."

Fourie acknowledged he'll have to be innovative with his training methods once some of the lockdown restrictions have been eased.

"If we cannot train as a squad we will have to split up into small groups, which will require some creativity, but we will make the best of whatever situation we are dealt as the team’s safety is of paramount importance," the coach said. 

Fourie returned to his home in Stellenbosch for the lockdown period and has enjoyed spending time with his family. He added that his two sons, one currently in Matric and the other a first-year student at Stellenbosch University, have ensured he keeps fit with daily training sessions.

Prior to joining the Cheetahs last year, Fourie coach Stellenbosch University's Maties in the Varsity Cup for four seasons.

The Stellenbosch students flourished under Fourie's guidance, reaching the Varsity Cup final in his first two seasons before winning back-to-back titles.

When the PRO14 was halted, the Cheetahs were fourth in Conference A, with six wins from 13 matches.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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