With the Bulls and Stormers taking part in the United Rugby Championship (URC) semifinals against Leinster and Ulster respectively, a large group of players from those teams could join up with the current Bok training group in Pretoria should either side drop out this weekend.
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“We are expecting the size of our training squad to grow in the next few weeks, and we are ready for any eventuality,” said Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.
“We obviously want our South African teams to perform well and advance to the URC final, and nothing substitutes game time and pressure like play-off rugby, especially in such a tough competition.
“At the same time, every training session we have with the available players will benefit us with an eye on the Incoming Series, so we will take each scenario as it plays out while ensuring that we maintain the highest possible standards so that we are as prepared as possible for the international season.”
With the English Premiership semifinals to be played this weekend as well as the French Top 14 playoffs also getting under way, a number of Boks could also become available, however their clubs do not have to release them before the international window.
Important first training week
The first week of the Bok training camp officially came to its conclusion on Friday, with the 17 players invited for the first week receiving a few days off, before reassembling on Sunday along with any other available players.
The first week consisted of a few training and gym sessions, as well as team and coaches’ meetings off the field to ensure that everyone was aligned in terms of the team’s goals for the week and the season.
“Our focus was on the fundamental skills this week as we had a limited number of players in Pretoria, but we are satisfied with the foundation laid and we are excited about the next few weeks after seeing the players’ enthusiasm and energy levels on the field,” explained Nienaber.
“We obviously had to manage some of the players’ workload, especially the Sharks players following their exit from the URC last weekend, but this was part of our planning from the outset.
“We believe the strides made this week will be beneficial as we continue our preparations with three weeks to go before our opening Test against Wales.”
Nienaber will name a squad of close to 42 players for the international season, which kicks off in July with three Tests against Wales in Pretoria (2nd July), Bloemfontein (9th July) and Cape Town (16th July, followed by the Rugby Championship.