Springbok rugby coach Jacques Nienaber has said the just completed alignment camps were “a step in the right direction” ahead of the build-up to the visit by the British and Irish Lions.
The Bok coaches and management wrapped up the first round of strategic alignment camps in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.
Rassie Erasmus (Director of Rugby), Felix Jones (assistant coach) and Andy Edwards (head of athletic performance) joined the proceedings online.
“Firstly, we shared general information around commercial and marketing engagements, because this is a British & Irish Lions tour and is a bit different from your normal tour,” said Nienaber.
The national players based in Japan will meet Nienaber and his fellow coaches online on Thursday, while next week it will be the turn of the players based in England and France.
Last week the players of the Bulls and Lions were addressed, followed by the Sharks, while this week it was the turn of the Stormers, while proceedings were concluded on Wednesday with the Cheetahs.
“With the (Springbok) squad being apart since the end of 2019 and expected to hit the road running against the British & Irish Lions in a few months’ time, it was vital to get everyone in sync as soon as possible,” said Nienaber.
“I would say the big part of these assemblies was the reality check exercise, to see where we are as a team,” he said.
The Bok coach said it was not just about the players, but also the whole management – steering their focus to the areas they have to improve on.
Nienaber said another major objective was for the players to have a clear understanding of exactly what is required of them to be considered for Bok selection.
“The players haven’t been together (in a Bok setup) for more than 500 days, so there was a lot of excitement, as you can imagine,” said Nienaber, “because I haven’t seen some of the players since the Rugby World Cup victory tour parade in November 2019.”