Investec Stormers coach Gert Smal is departing with the Springboks for their end-of-year tour later tonight, but he is satisfied that his team’s preparation for the Vodacom Super 12 will be on track upon his return on 6 December.
Smal led his side to a third place on the final Super 12 log and a semifinal berth last season and he hopes for an even better performance this season.
“The last few weeks have been quite hectic – running around between the planning of the Investec Stormers’ Super 12 campaign and my commitments at the Springboks is not easy,” the coach said before departure today.
“I spent a lot of the time I was not with the Boks just planning and organizing our Stormers campaign. We had to arrange our flights, accommodation, our training camp, friendly matches, etc.
“Then I also spent time with the rest of the Stormers coaching and medical personnel, just talking about the game and working out fitness programs for the time I will be away.
“Our fitness and conditioning coach, Greg Hechter, will be in charge of the fitness and gym work, while the assistant coaches will concentrate on rugby related matters.”
Smal said the skeleton squad would assemble on 8 November before going on holiday on 10 December before getting together again on 4 January. The returning Stormers Boks will go for medical tests upon their return from Argentina and will also get a three-week break thereafter.
They will join the rest of the Stormers’ squad on 4 January. All the players will follow individual fitness programs during their break.
According to the coach his side plans to play three friendly matches before the start of the Super 12 – against the Renegades, the Bulls and Irish side Munster respectively. All these fixtures need to be confirmed.
The coach said he would like to “beef up” his pack a bit. “All the squads at the moment are preliminary squads and I will only know which players are available once the official squads have been announced.
“We will work with the players in our region and we are confident we will be competitive.”