President Cyril Ramaphosa with Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi during the Springboks rugby team Welcome to the Union Buildings on the 07 November 2019. Picture: JAIRUS MMUTLE / GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa with Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi during the Springboks rugby team Welcome to the Union Buildings on the 07 November 2019. Picture: JAIRUS MMUTLE / GCIS

Stormers captain Siya Kolisi and coach John Dobson have underlined the gravity of the 21-day national lockdown the country has entered.

Both appealed to the public to adhere to the restrictions in place over the next three weeks.

“The most important thing right now for us as a team is the health of the country and what the people need. We must make sure we send the right messages and show how much this means to us by making sure we are staying within the rules‚” said Kolisi.

“It is tough for everybody. If you can’t do much‚ just stay at home because that is also supporting what the president has said. The whole world is asking to fight this thing. So do what you can as a person‚” he said.

Dobson stressed the importance of players such as Kolisi to get the right message out.

“It is the responsibility of the high-profile players in our group to show how seriously we are taking it‚” he said. “That is the most important thing. Don’t show cheeky resilience‚ or defiance and hopefully one day we will play rugby again.”

Dobson recognised that South Africans are embracing the challenge.

“There is a natural reaction when you hear Super Rugby has stopped and you think 'hell‚ that’s a pity and then worry about jobs in the rugby economy and the devastation across the world’s economy'‚” Dobson said.

“What is nice to hear is that there is no selfish reaction from anybody. People realise this is for the greater good of the country. We completely support it.”

The coach explained how his players will attempt to stay fit and focused during the lockdown.

“Our plan now is obviously remote‚ but I think in quite a high-quality way. It’s basic conditioning elements‚ giving the guys programmes‚ giving them gym equipment.

“We’re doing an amazing deal with Virgin Active‚ who are supplying the guys with home equipment‚” Dobson said.

“We give them nutritional advice and we’ve got various technical challenges for the players. They have to do self-analysis‚ reviewing old games‚ looking at trends in world rugby and then some fun challenges whether it’s a meal or best beard for the week. We need to try to make it professional and stimulating at the same time.

“This is a shock for everybody‚ almost like a period of grief. We are not putting anyone under pressure to produce X. Let them get home safe and set up in their environment.”

The coach said the team will also try to meet their outreach obligations‚ within the confines of the restrictions.

“Also our ability to do our social outreach is restricted. We won’t be able to physically deliver stuff‚ or visit the elderly or children. What we will do is messaging. We will do whatever we can within the confines of the law.”