Covid bio-bubble has it’s challenges but Springboks ready to end ’difficult’ season on a high, says Deon Davids
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JOHANNESBURG - It has been close to four months that the Springboks have been contained within an arduous bio-bubble, and one of the major talking points on Monday morning was whether such a prolonged period of separation from normality has finally caught-up with a weathered, bruised, bloodied and beaten squad.
The Boks have looked flat-footed and disjointed in their two losses to the Wallabies, the most recent this past Saturday. It has been 15 weeks since the squad entered mandatory isolation to ensure their participation against the British and Irish Lions and now in the Rugby Championship - a period of time that Bok forwards coach Deon Davids acknowledged on Monday in a media briefing as one of the many challenges the team has faced.
“Scientifically, and I am no scientist,” David said, “there are certain facts, like after 15 weeks of competition that there will be physical and mental challenges.
“With the Covid bio-bubble and its impact in which we have prepared, at the end of the day there will be an impact on the players, spiritually or anatomically. We, as a group, when we started this tournament. (the Rugby Championship), we had a clear plan regarding the challenges we would be facing and as things have transpired we have tried adjusting to the circumstances.
“I can only compliment the players and the rest of the management team. I can assure you with a fortnight left of a difficult season, there is no better motivation for the players to give their best than playing against a team like New Zealand.
“Fatigue won’t stand in the way of the players giving their best in the next two Saturdays. That is a part of the character of the players and the team, and the professionalism they have already shown over the last few months.”
It was a sentiment shared by the Big Dog, Bongi Mbonambi, who in a short and sweet manner, assured that the Boks will do their best to pick themselves up for the next leg of the tournament – two matches, including the Centenary Test this weekend, against the All Blacks.
“From my side, personally, it has been quite a busy international window,” said Mbonambi.
“There have been quite a lot of games played but I must say we are all professionals here in the Springbok setup and we are just taking it week-by-week and day-by-day. The past two weeks the results have not gone our way. We are focusing on the next challenge ahead of us.”
Davids also revealed that there was uncertainty regarding the availability of Cheslin Kolbe, but that overall, there were no other real injury concerns to the squad.
The team to face the All Blacks at Queensland Country Bank Stadium will be announced on Tuesday.