Siya Kolisi. Picture: REUTERS
Siya Kolisi. Picture: REUTERS

The Springbok coaches and the management team will start preparations for the coming international season with alignment camps scheduled in the next two weeks to prime the players for a return to Test rugby.

The national side’s coaching brains trust‚ led by director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber‚ will start presenting their plans for the season to a small group of players from the Lions and Bulls this week.

They will move to Durban for a similar exercise with Sharks players before returning to Cape Town to work with the Stormers. They will wrap up with some Cheetahs in Bloemfontein next week.

SA Rugby also revealed that there will be orientation camps in the next few weeks‚ including assemblies of Springbok players who are based in the UK‚ Ireland‚ France and Japan.

The season features the much-anticipated inbound British & Irish Lions series‚ the Rugby Championship and the traditional end-of-year tour to Europe.

“With a very busy and demanding international season looming‚ it is important we get everyone aligned as soon as possible‚” said Erasmus.

“Though Jacques and his coaching staff have been in constant communication with the players throughout the past 15 months or so — keeping tabs on their performances‚ injury recovery and general wellbeing — we are now very excited and looking forward to meeting the players in a familiar team environment.”

Erasmus said with less than 90 days remaining before the arrival of the touring British & Irish Lions‚ every day counts.

“The local players will meet the coaches‚ medical and conditioning staff and [the] rest of the management over the next two weeks‚ while we have similar plans for our European and Japanese-based players‚ with Felix Jones hosting sessions in the UK and France and the Japanese-based players joining us on virtual meetings‚” Erasmus said.

The Springboks have not played Test rugby since winning the Rugby World Cup in Japan at the end of the 2019 season. Coach Nienaber said the players will get logistical and other relevant arrangements out of the way before the start of the training camps.

“There’s a lot of excitement‚ from players to coaches and the management staff‚ to finally get together and kick-start our preparations for what promises to be a very busy and challenging international season‚” said Nienaber.

“A lot of background planning has already been done‚ but we are now looking forward to shift our focus and preparations into a higher [level] because time is of the essence. We have purposefully kept the groups small so we can drill into [them] as much specifics as possible.”

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