Conditioning key to Springbok revival

Allister Coetzee (Gallo)
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - Conditioning is a key aspect in getting the Springboks back on track and was a common theme to emerge from this week's two-day coaching indaba in Cape Town. 

In fact, conditioning is so much of an issue for coach Allister Coetzee that it has been allocated its own national indaba, which is set to take place in December.

Coetzee says that South African players go from competition to competition throughout the season, which takes its toll physically. 

New Zealand rugby, Coetzee adds, manages its players better but that is because the conditioning trainers who work for the Super Rugby teams are employed by New Zealand Rugby and not their franchises. 

It means that New Zealand players are always managed with the All Blacks in mind, while South African players are expected to give their absolute all for their franchises and unions first. 

"It’s such a vital component," Coetzee said.

"If that is not in place then every area in the game will fall flat.

"You won’t have the legs to work hard on defence or attack, let alone scrum and maul and carry balls."

Coetzee said it was "scary" how fit the All Blacks were and how they possessed the ability to up the tempo of their play as late as the 60th minute of a match.

"Conditioning is not just about getting people fit. It is far more advanced and with a scientific approach to certain things," he added.

"Fitness comes with recovery and player well-being.

"Having contracted the top 120 players in the country, they (New Zealand) do not just jump from one competition to the other.

"We have a small group of players that have to cover all competitions without any real sort of rest.

"One thing we shouldn’t underestimate is that they (New Zealand) have done this collaboration a long time ago.

"It’s not that one franchise conditions a certain way to play their own way. The way they condition … the franchises are conditioning them to play Tests."

The Boks are set to travel to the northern hemisphere next month for Tests against England, Wales and Italy. 

The squad for that tour will be named on Saturday.

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