Super Rugby

Stormers 'hungry' for contact, but working towards bigger picture

Rito Hlungwani (Gallo)
Rito Hlungwani (Gallo)
  • The Stormers are using their non-contact training to try and get their forwards pack as aerobically fit as possible.
  • Forwards coach Rito Hlungwani says it is still not clear when a return to contact training will be allowed.
  • According to Hlungwani, the Stormers would ideally need around "four or five weeks" of contact training before playing matches again.


The Stormers are "hungry" for contact to be allowed at training once again, but they are using this unique opportunity to work on other aspects of their game. 

That was the word out of Cape Town on Wednesday with forwards coach Rito Hlungwani confirming that there is still no indication of when full contact training will be allowed.

South Africa's professional rugby franchises, under government's coronavirus guidelines, are only allowed to train in groups of five or less.

"Nobody really knows at this stage when we will start contact," Hlungwani said in a video press conference. 

It is obviously frustrating for the players, who would have last felt that familiar feeling in the final round of Super Rugby fixtures in mid-March before that tournament was suspended and the national lockdown came into effect. 

But, according to Hlungwani, this window is being used as an opportunity to transform the fitness of the Stormers forwards pack. 

The game is changing, Hlungwani says, and the Stormers are embracing that change by transforming their forwards pack into a mobile unit that can play full games of rugby. 

Reports have also suggested that World Rugby is considering changing the rules to lessen the number of substitutes allowed.

"We are looking forward to it (contact training), but it's crucial for everyone to look at the fact that rugby is slowly changing," said Hlungwani.

"We're looking more to get 24-hour athletes and we need our players to be aerobically fit. All the things that are outside contact, we're trying to work hard at getting right.

"The big thing we've started working on is just making sure we've got a fit pack with a good aerobic base. One thing we've always been good at is lineout, maul and scrum but now we want to make sure that our pack can operate from minute one to minute 80."

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but SA Rugby is understood to be looking at staging a Currie Cup this year that could get underway sometime towards the end of September. 

According to Hlungwani, the Stormers would ideally have "four or five weeks" of full contact training before they are match ready.

"We are hungry for contact," he said.

"In a perfect world we'd want to build it up and we'd probably need four or five weeks.

"We understand that under the circumstances we might have to squeeze that in. That would be a month to build up on the contact.

"We'll take what we can get at this stage."