Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer left Cape Town a happy man after overseeing three very successful Planning Camps over the past three weeks.
It was Meyer’s first interaction with the country’s leading players since his appointment at the end of January. Two of the three camps were held in Pretoria, with players from the Toyota Cheetahs, MTN Lions, Vodacom Bulls and The Sharks. The final camp, with players from the DHL Stormers, concluded in Cape Town on Thursday.
Meyer also involved members of the South African Under-20 squad. A total of 104 players attended the three camps. Each player had one-on-one discussions with the Springbok coach and was assessed by the medical team.
“I was really very happy with the attitude and willingness shown by the players at the three camps,” said Meyer. “To me it’s very important that players want to play for South Africa and to see how eager our players are to wear the Green and Gold really impressed me.
“I know the value of taking a break, especially during a tough competition like Vodacom Super Rugby, but these guys all got stuck in and didn’t hesitate for a moment when they were asked to attend.
“Their franchises also helped us a lot and I can’t thank them enough for allowing us the time with the players. To go into the series against England with the amount of base work we’ve done, is something I didn’t foresee and it gives me a great deal of confidence for next month.
“It was always going to be a big ask to start from scratch with less than a week before we face the English, but these camps helped a lot in allaying some of the concerns I’ve had.”
Meanwhile, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced that negotiations with five more members of the Springbok Team Management had been concluded.
Meyer’s assistant coaches were confirmed as Johann van Graan (forwards), Ricardo Loubscher (backs) and John McFarland (defence). Basil Carzis has been appointed as conditioning coach and Ian Schwartz will be the team manager.
Van Graan, McFarland and Carzis will join the Boks for the Castle Incoming Tour against England in June and then return to the Vodacom Bulls until the end of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition.