Executing skills and making decisions at a high intensity has been a major focus of the pre-season for the DHL Stormers.
The squad has been hard at work since the beginning of November, with the coaching staff working hard on improving their conditioning and skills in that time.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Steph du Toit explained that the players have worked harder than ever before in pre-season, in an effort to ensure they are fighting fit for the 2017 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.
“We lengthened our preparation time, we lengthened our days and we threw quite a load on top of the players.
“I would say we are better prepared. It is a younger group in training age, but they have done a lot more volume, and that creates quite a big base.
“Training has changed quite significantly over the last few years, if I think about the way I conditioned them in 2010 when we had that team that played in the final, it was different.
“In conditioning you will never know enough because it is ever-evolving. Although the game is played between the same four lines it is always evolving,” he said.
The difference is that skills have become a important part of the conditioning work that the players do, to ensure that they are able to execute them under pressure in a game situation.
Du Toit said that the goal has been to ensure that players are able to work at speed after they take contact.
“Now the focus is on running after contact and high skills with players up on their feet and active the whole time.
“The game is getting faster but not longer. The skill to run fast after contact is what we try to focus on. We try to get them all to do at least something at a high velocity after contact.
“It is also about your mindset, so we try and work on the players mentally all the time in terms of skills under pressure, for them to make decisions quickly and understand what we want out of it,” he added.