SA rugby sides will have to wait a little longer before 'graduating' to contact training

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Grant Williams of Sharks and Sean Everitt (Head Coach) during the Sharks training session at Kings Park.
Grant Williams of Sharks and Sean Everitt (Head Coach) during the Sharks training session at Kings Park.
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  • Local franchises are only expected to "graduate" to contact training again next week.
  • It's understood that SA Rugby's Covid-19 committee will only convene on Monday, where related protocols as well as a return to play date is expected to be confirmed.
  • Despite the seemingly tight time frame, it's consistent with the federation's guidelines for conditioning of the players.

Despite the sheer euphoria of assembling again in small groups, South Africa's rugby players will need to be content with at least one more week of non-contact training.

Sport24 understands that SA Rugby's Covid-19 management committee will only convene on Monday, where protocols related to the resumption of contact training is expected to be given.

More importantly, the meeting should also provide confirmation on the exact dates for the start of the domestic programme, which is reportedly going to be divided into a six-week Super Rugby-franchise only section and then an eight-week Currie Cup format.

Earlier this month, SA Rugby stated that it was aiming for a "mid-September" return to play, with the weekend of the 12th appearing a suitable date.

While that would seem like a relatively immediate time frame for teams with players who haven't even started tackling or engaging in collisions again, it's actually consistent with the federation's planning since submitting its first draft of return to training protocols back in May.

Louis Janse van Rensburg, the Pumas' strength and conditioning coach, previously noted that the franchises required a surprisingly short turnaround time to get back into shape for competitive play.

"The players would only need about three to four weeks of contact training to be in decent shape to play competitively again. Of course, that's also dependent on a player having effective non-contact training as well for about a month before that," he said.

Should the players be given the green light for contact again at the start of next week, it would allow for at least three-and-a-half week period before action resumes. 

To date, the franchises have been left relatively unscathed in terms of injuries, with promising Bulls prop Simphiwe Matanzima being the only casualty after he snapped an Achilles while doing shuttle runs.

He'll be out for at least nine months.
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