Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
26 Oct 2021
10:16 am

Nienaber: ‘French camp will help get SA-based Boks up to speed’

Ross Roche

"You can’t go from not playing any rugby for four weeks straight into a Test match."

Coach Jacques Nienaber is using the France camp to get players like captain Siya Kolisi back up to speed after a few weeks off, ahead of the three Tests in the UK next month. Picture: Tertius Pickard/Gallo Images

This week’s build up in France is being used by the Springbok coaching staff to get their South African based Boks back up to speed ahead of the end of year tour.

After a gruelling three month stint in bio secure bubbles as the Springboks went from the British and Irish Lions series straight into the Rugby Championship, the team was allowed to take a break and return to their families for a month.

However, only the South Africa-based Boks were able to enjoy the whole month off as they did not need to return to franchise duty for the Bulls, Stormers, Lions or Sharks. The Europe-based Boks had to return to their club sides in the UK and France, where many of them featured for their teams.

“Guys like Handre (Pollard) and Cobus (Reinach) played for Montpellier this weekend and are still playing for their clubs for another week, but the South Africa-based players like Siya (Kolisi) haven’t played since the end of the Rugby Championship,” explained Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.

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“The reason we chose to come to France for this week is because you can’t go from not playing any rugby for four weeks straight into a Test match, so that’s why we have our South Africa-based players here in France to prepare at this camp. The other guys will join us on the 31 October (Sunday).”

One of the locally based players who heads into the tour with plenty of momentum will be debutant Salmaan Moerat, who’s impressive performances in the United Rugby Championship saw him get his first call up for the Boks and will be in line to make his debut should he make any of the match day 23s.

Moerat is no stranger to national colours having captained the SA Schools team and Baby Boks, while he also captained the Stormers during their opening European tour in the URC.

“I have been privileged to have represented South Africa at school and U20 levels, so I have been through the system and I have been to one or two training camps where I realised what it takes to make my way into this squad and now I am very privileged to be here,” said Moerat.

“It’s very special to me and my family and hopefully I can become a better rugby player over the next four weeks and if the opportunity comes I can be ready for it.”