The ’attitudes, excitement’ have been fantastic as SA Rugby Academy kicks off
CAPE TOWN - The SA Rugby Academy players returned to the training field in Stellenbosch on Friday for the first time in more than a year.
The group, made up of close to 30 players, gathered at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport on Wednesday. Eight more squad players are set to join next week.
Flyhalf Kade Wolhuter, prop Jan-Hendrik Wessels, centre Canan Moodie and lock Reinhardt Ludwig are currently training with their respective senior provincial squads and will join the Academy at a later stage.
Corne Weilbach and Keanan Galant, meanwhile, were forced to withdraw due to back and knee injuries respectively.
“We are very excited,” said Junior Springbok coach Bafana Nhleko.
“I asked a few players when last they played, and one of them said March 2019 and another August 2019, so one can imagine their excitement to be back on the field and to be part of this system, so we are looking forward to it.
“We are lucky that most of the players have been with their unions doing non-contact training, but part of our process in the next three days and next week as well, is to make sure we focus on the non-contact part of things and to provide clarity on our detail.
“We will also assess where they are from a physical conditioning point of view and determine their skill levels. We will then slowly reintegrate with some body work with assistance from the strength and conditioning staff, and perhaps some tackle bag work later on before we advance to full contact.”
The SA Rugby Academy programme was launched in 2017 and aims to balance formal education with high performance training and player welfare. The 2021 programme will run until 30 June.
Updated SA Rugby Academy squad:
Props: Blaine Golden (Sharks), Okuhle Siyeni (Lions), Tielman Nieuwoudt (Bulls), Lamla Nunu (Western Province), Nolan Pienaar (Bulls), Sibusiso Shongwe (Lions), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Bulls).
Hookers: Jacques Goosen (Sharks), Andre-Hugo Venter (WP), Lukhanyo Vokozela (WP).
Locks: Connor Evans, Dylan de Leeuw (both Western Province), Reinhardt Ludwig (Bulls), Simon Miller (WP), Corne Rahl (Sharks).
Loose forwards: George Cronje (Cheetahs), Wandile Hlophe (Lions), Keketso Morabe (Western Province), Rynard Mouton (Bulls), Siyemukela Ndlovu (Lions), Siyambuka Ningiza (Sharks), Jarrod Taylor (WP), Sisonke Vumazonke (Lions).
Scrumhalves: Bobby Alexander (Western Province), Bradley Davids (Sharks), Nico Steyn (Lions).
Flyhlaves: Jordan Hendriks (Lions), Sacha Mngomezulu (WP), Brandon Wilkie (Sharks), Kade Wolhuter (WP).
Centres: Carlton Bannies (Bulls), Tyler Bocks (Lions), Mnqobi Mkhize (Sharks), Canan Moodie (Bulls), Zeilinga Strydom, Henco van Wyk (both Lions).
Outside backs: Dalvon Blood (SA Rugby contracted/WP), Geraldo Flusk (Bulls), Curwin Gertse (Sharks), Matthew Jacobs (Sharks), Duran Koevort (WP), Mtungwa Mapantsela (Sharks), Keanan Wentzel (Vodacom Bulls).