The Springboks are looking in good condition ahead of their first World Cup game. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG 
 Springbok conditioning coach Aled Walters expects the Boks to be in perfect shape as they prepare to kick off their World Cup campaign in Japan with a huge clash against the All Backs on Saturday.

The Boks have already been in Japan for two weeks to acclimatise and get used to the hot and humid conditions, and coach Rassie Erasmus will hope the decision to travel early will pay off this week. The All Blacks arrived late last week.

Walters said: “We’ve had two good weeks of training here, the purpose of which was to get in some proper training in tough conditions, which is why we purposefully trained in the hottest part of the day to really get the benefit.

“Whether it’s 20ºC or 30ºC at the weekend I don’t mind. We just have to embrace it mentally.

"The players have been through the worst we can expect.”

Walters confirmed several Bok players had shed several kilogrammes during their training sessions.

“In a relatively light training session last week, Duane Vermeulen lost 3kg.

"Our dietitian is all over hydration and nutrition protocols and World Rugby has done a great job as the chefs at the hotels are well prepared in what the majority of teams want anyway.”

Meanwhile Brett Gosper, the chief executive of World Rugby, told an audience at the welcoming ceremony over the weekend that he sensed a rising Bok tide.

“From the Mandela match of 1995, with Francois Pienaar, and victory again in France in 2007 and the match that was referred to as the ‘Miracle of Brighton’ in 2015, what I can sense about this team is the rising capability that you are going to write your own history.

“I am sure you will inspire a generation of players not only in your own country, but across the world.”

For that to happen, the Boks will have to win and play well, starting this week with the one match everyone's been waiting for, a clash with the All Blacks.

@jacq_west


The Star