Bok coaches pleased with tone set at first alignment camp

rugby07 March 2024 13:42
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Rassie Erasmus © Gallo Images

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus and his coaching team were happy with the tone set for the 2024 international season and the relationships built between the players and coaching staff as they wrapped up their first alignment camp of the season in Cape Town on Thursday.

The camp – which marked the first of three Springbok alignment camps before the international season kicks off in June – started with a two-day strategic session with the coaches on Monday and Tuesday, while the coaches and strength and conditioning staff presented their plans and expectations to the invited players on Wednesday and Thursday.

“The keys of the alignment camps are to ensure that the players on the same page in terms of standards required to perform at top international level and to expose them to our way of doing things, and we are pleased that we achieved that in the last few days,” said Erasmus.

“The camp was invaluable both in terms of developing our structures for the next few seasons and in getting the coaches and players to get to know one another better off the field, especially with the introduction of Jerry (Flannery), Tony (Brown) and Jaco (Peyper) to our coaching staff.”

Erasmus added: “The coaches and Jaco, as our national laws’ advisor, presented a broad outline of their plans to the players as a group on Wednesday and held a series of split forwards and backs sessions on Thursday, while we also presented the Springbok macro plan for the year, so we are happy with the foundation laid with a little over four months before we kick off the international season.

“I must give credit to the players for their enthusiasm and excitement to learn how we operate in the Springbok set-up, and for buying into our structures.

“We believe that the last two days will be invaluable in laying a good foundation for our next two alignment camps and the season ahead.”

The back-to-back Rugby World Cup champions will return to the field for the first time since lifting Webb Ellis Cup in France last year on Saturday 22 June against Wales at Twickenham before hosting Ireland and Portugal in the Castle Lager Incoming Series in July. The Boks will play Ireland in back-to-back tests in Pretoria and Durban on 6 and 13 July, before lining up against Portugal in their historic first test in Bloemfontein on Saturday 20 July.

Their next task will be the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in August and September where they will face the Wallabies on successive weekends in Australia before hosting arch-rivals New Zealand in South Africa in Johannesburg and Cape Town, which will be followed by a short trip to Argentina before they wrap up the competition in Nelspruit against the Pumas.

The next two alignment camps will be hosted between 1 and 3 May, and 22 to 24 May respectively, with the venues set to be announced in due course.