Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber plans to ‘reintroduce’ players to Test rugby
Share this article:
CAPE TOWN - With their first Test against Georgia marking the first time in 19 months the Springboks will play international rugby, head coach Jacques Nienaber says the goal for that fixture is just to reintroduce the players to Test rugby again.
The Boks will face the Georgians in two Tests as a precursor to the much-anticipated British & Irish Lions Series, with the first Test scheduled for Friday, July 2, in Pretoria. The second fixture against the Lelos will take place the following week on Friday, July 9 in Johannesburg.
Speaking during a virtual media briefing yesterday, Nienaber – who will make his debut as Bok head coach against Georgia – explained that going all-out isn't the focus for their first step back into the Test arena since their World Cup triumph in Japan on November 2, 2019.
“I think the focus with our first Test is just going to be to get the guys used to international rugby again. For us it will be to just get used to the pace of the game and the small margins of international rugby,” he said.
“Our goal for this week is to introduce everybody (the players) to how we do things in the Springbok camp, how we talk and how we operate. We also want to squeeze in the last bit of conditioning we can. We can focus on conditioning this week as we don't have to taper for a Test match (this weekend).”
The Bok coach added that it's unlikely that Bok superstar Cheslin Kolbe will be available for the first assignment next Friday.
In a repeat of the Champions Cup final, Kolbe and Toulouse teammate Rynhardt Elstadt will be in action against La Rochelle in the Top14 decider this weekend, with Nienaber explaining that the duo will be pressed for time considering that they still have to accommodate their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine before flying out.
“Cheslin and Rynhardt are playing on Saturday and I think they're only flying back on the Monday and we are playing the Friday, so I do not think there will be enough time to get them on board and back into our way of doing things.
“I think they will most likely not play. Cheslin told me that they are getting their second dose of the vaccine on Sunday only, so I don't think there will be enough time.
“They will probably only arrive in South Africa on Monday or Tuesday. There are selectors and logistical matters that will also play a role, but personally I think it will be a tough ask for them to play in the first Test against Georgia."