The 12 new players in the Springbok squad have brought a lot of excitement and energy, Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan said on Wednesday.
Van Graan addressed the media in Johannesburg alongside three of the newcomers – loose forwards Roelof Smit, Jean-Luc du Preez and Uzair Cassiem.
Cassiem (Man of the Match) was a standout member of the Toyota Free State Cheetahs’ Currie Cup winning side, Smit was a key figure for runners-up, the Vodacom Blue Bulls, and Du Preez was on Monday crowned as the Players’ Player of the Year, presented by MyPlayers.
The Springbok squad have been together since Sunday and travel to the United Kingdom on Friday, where they will resume training for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour opener against the Barbarians on 5 November at the Wembley Stadium in London. The Springboks then play England, Italy and Wales on consecutive weekends.
Looking back at the three days of intensive training so far, Van Graan said the coaching staff was very satisfied with the effort of the 30-man squad.
“The new group of youngsters obviously brought a lot of excitement and energy with them,” said Van Graan. “We’ve had three fantastic days’ of training so far and the players have been brilliant in terms of their efforts on the training field.”
According to Van Graan, the squad is spending a lot of time on finer details, so that everyone is familiar with what is required from the group. “For now we’ve spent quite a bit of time on the detail and next week we will focus more on the specifics of what we want to achieve against the Barbarians.”
Looking back at the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, Van Graan said: “Coach Allister Coetzee has said that we want to turn things around on this tour.
“According to the combined stats of our set pieces – the lineouts and scrums – we actually topped the averages during the campaign. We want to improve our kicking game and our defence, and the conditions in the northern hemisphere will also test your forward play.”
The Springboks will continue their preparations on Thursday and Friday, before flying out to London on Friday evening.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications.