New Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani says 'it's extremely tough to keep everyone on the same level' during the lockdown. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/EPA
New Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani says 'it's extremely tough to keep everyone on the same level' during the lockdown. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Stormers will hit the ground running once coronavirus lockdown ends

By Wynona Louw Time of article published Apr 29, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Stormers assistant coach Rito Hlungwani is confident they have created a team environment that will help them ensure their players stay put in these uncertain times brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While South Africa will go into a level 4 lockdown on Friday, there isn’t any real clarity in terms of how it will impact sport and a return to the training field.

During a digital press conference yesterday, the Stormers forwards coach said that the coaching team are still awaiting answers and trying to figure out the way forward.

With the ongoing conversations between SA Rugby and the government, the South African rugby fraternity could know in the coming days whether an internal, behind-closed-doors competition will get the go-ahead should the 2020 Super Rugby season be scrapped.

“It’s something we’re really researching hard at this stage. We’re trying to find a way to get more information in terms of what we can do (in terms of training), because that’s not totally clear for us at this stage. But we’re continuing what we did last week - letting the boys train at home,” Hlungwani said.

“We’ll have to see what SA Rugby comes back with, but if we do return we’ll have everything ready at the HPC (High Performance Centre) and we’ll make sure that we get out of the blocks quickly while still meeting the guidelines SA Rugby or the government might give us.”

On whether the Stormers are concerned about losing players given the financial implications of the current restrictions, Hlungwani said: “It’s a tough one to deal with, but I think the environment we’ve created has helped us in the sense that the players want to stay, they want to play for us and for each other. So as much as it is nerve-wracking, we feel that we’ve created that environment players don’t want to leave.”

While he feels they’ll be able to get right back into it when team training does resume, Hlungwani added that having the guys training at home does make it tougher to remain rugby ready.

“It’s extremely tough to keep everyone on the same level, but I think what’s been put in place is helping quite a lot. The guys have taken equipment home, but it’s still tough because it’s not the same as training together and with all kinds of equipment, but we’re making it work,” he said.

“The guys submit their weight every day and we give them advice on what to do, whether they need to gain, lose or maintain.”

@WynonaLouw

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