The use of sport psychologists in rugby is not an uncommon practice has formed a crucial part of the Lions’ preparations for this year’s Super Rugby competition.
The Lions host the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday in their competition opener and coach Swys de Bruin said it has become a crucial part of their lead-up to the competition not to look too far ahead towards possible play-offs.
“This is only the first game of the competition and all teams start from zero so it would be very foolish to look too far ahead,” he said.
De Bruin said in this regard their psychologist Jannie Putter has a vital part to play in the mindset of the players ahead of a long and taxing competition.
“Doc Jannie has been excellent for us and the squad normally has a session on a Monday where he has explained to the players how vital it is not think too long-term, but rather focus on the here and now which is the next session or match,” he said.
De Bruin is likely to include up to nine Springboks in his starting line-up to face the Sharks who lost narrowly 23-21 at Ellis Park last season after a last-minute penalty through wing Ruan Combrinck.
In the backline, fullback Andries Coetzee, centres Lionel Mapoe and Rohan Janse van Rensburg and halfbacks Elton Jantjies and Ross Cronje are all Boks.
Up front, hooker Malcolm Marx, tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer, lock Franco Mosert and the anticipated return of the energetic captain and No 8 Warren Whiteley will give the side the experience and confidence which will be required.
Ideally, De Bruin would want all his top playmakers out on the park and is still keeping everyone guessing whether Mapoe or Janse van Rensburg could be employed out on the wing with inside centre Harold Vorster a must at 12.