Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said he was very happy with his squad’s first training session on Saturday, a day after their arrival in the Australian city of Brisbane.
The good news for the Springboks was the return to the training field of flyhalf Elton Jantjies and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, who both suffered injury niggles recently.
Jantjies was forced to leave the field early against Argentina in Salta last weekend after he sustained a bruise to the thigh. Hougaard missed both Tests against the Pumas with a troublesome knee.
On Saturday, the Springboks enjoyed their first field session at the Anglican Church School field in Brisbane and the squad will have a rest on Sunday before resuming their preparations on Monday. They face the Wallabies next weekend in their third Castle Lager Rugby Championship outing of the season.
“Elton Jantjies came through his training exercises very well and so did Francois, so all of the players are ready to go when we resume preparations on Monday,” confirmed Coetzee.
Regarding the battle against the Wallabies, Coetzee said: “We know the Wallabies will be looking to turn the tables on us this weekend, but we are focusing on ourselves and we want to make sure we eliminate the unforced errors and deliver a much-improved performance.”
Coetzee added his players have already benefitted from their earlier arrival in Australia. “I am very happy that we’ve come to Brisbane a couple of days earlier than usual. Arriving here on the Friday allowed us to have a good training session today (Saturday). We’ve crossed several time-zones the past few days, first flying to Argentina and back home, and then down to Australia.
“I am very satisfied with the way the players have performed during training, and it shows the team has adapted well to the local conditions,” explained Coetzee.
Prop Tendai Mtawarira also cautioned that Australia will be a difficult opponent next weekend. “The Wallabies are always tough to play against on their home turf. They are a very good technical side and we will have to make sure we prepare well for them,” said Mtawarira.
“Individual mistakes cost us in Salta and we have to rectify those mistakes during training in the coming week, so that don’t repeat them against Australia,” added the experienced prop.
Mtawarira equalled the Springbok appearance record of Os du Randt last weekend in Salta when he played in his 80th Test for the Springboks.