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Springboks, Pumas strike up cordial relationship in bio-bubble after niggly Tests

Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende does some work in the gym during the Springboks’ bio-bubble stay in Australia. Picture: SA Rugby via Twitter

Jesse Kriel and Damian de Allende does some work in the gym during the Springboks’ bio-bubble stay in Australia. Picture: SA Rugby via Twitter

Published Aug 31, 2021

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DURBAN - The Springboks and Argentina’s Los Pumas were not exactly best friends in the niggly Test matches they recently played in Gqeberha, but they are now bosom buddies as the two squads make the best of life in their mutual bio-bubble in Brisbane.

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said from Queensland that after flying out of South African together, the squads have been locked into isolation in the same resort and have to share facilities ahead of their respective Rugby Championship matches against Australia and New Zealand.

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“Ourselves and the Argentinians are quarantined together, we share the gym, the eating hall and the training field but obviously not at the same times and I must say they have been extremely cordial in our daily discussions as to how we accommodate each other,” Nienaber said.

“Intermingling with anybody but our own squad is strictly not allowed. We can walk around outside our rooms but we can’t, for instance, go to the swimming pool and relax,” he explained. “We are not confined to rooms, we can walk in the open air, but we can’t use the luxuries of the resort such as the pool.”

Nienaber said that nobody, not even hotel staff, can enter the Boks’ “red zone” which is their living quarters, so the players are having to tidy up for themselves.

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“Then we have an ‘orange zone’ where our meals are prepared and then placed in the eating hall,” he continued. “They announce when the food is ready and then we go and dish it up ourselves, with the Pumas having different eating times to us.

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“It has been phenomenal how the two squads have gone out of their way to make it work,” Nienaber said. “There has to be compromising for both sides when it comes to working out a daily schedule for the gym and the training field.”

Fortunately, there has been no compromising on what the Boks can do when they get on to the pitch.

“We can have normal, full-contact training sessions, so we will be ready for our first game (on September 12 against Australia),” Nienaber concluded.

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