The Bulls are back in contact training
- As local rugby goes into its second week of contact training, a slight unease still exists over whether there’s enough time to get players match fit.
- Jake White, the Bulls’ director of rugby, admits it’s a sticky issue but believes his experience of coaching in Australia and Japan will help.
- Both countries generally have long off- and pre-seasons, similar to the situation in SA at the moment.
The intensity is set to be increased this week as local teams go into their second week of contact training ahead of the upcoming domestic competition, reportedly earmarked for 10 October.
A slight sense of unease still persists among some of the rugby fraternity that the window before competitive action starts could be too small given that the players have been inactive for five months.
Overall, the country’s players have publicly expressed their excitement for a return and there is consensus from SA Rugby and the unions that four weeks of contact should be sufficient in the current climate.
Jake White, the Bulls’ director of rugby, admits though that the enthusiasm for running onto the field again shouldn’t overshadow prudent athletic management.
“Well, look it’s a difficult one,” he said in his latest video on the Bulls’ mobile app.
“You don’t know how many injuries you’ll have early on. Most competitions when you come back from a long lay-off it’s always difficult for the players to adapt.
“You know, muscle tissues, big bumps and bruises obviously come to the fore. But in saying that, it’s the same for everybody.”
The value of recruiting a pedigreed coach like White could become further apparent in this regard though.
The former World Cup-winning Springbok coach has extensive experience working in Australia and Japan, where long pre-seasons are common.
“I think I’ve been fortunate enough as I’ve said that I’ve coached in Japan, where there’s a five-month off-season,” he said, referring to his stint at Toyota Verblitz.
“And when I was in Australia at the Brumbies, they didn’t play Currie Cup and at that point there was no provincial competition either. So we had an extended off-season and pre-season. It’s a little bit of the same here in South Africa.”
Various techniques exist to get the bodies ready for the rigours of a full-on collision or tackle again.
“We can gradually ramp it up. We can start working with contact shields, maybe with some body suits. Hopefully get into one or two friendlies before we kick-off,” said White.
The Bulls’ list of players walking wounded at the moment is short, with only promising prop Simphiwe Matanzima suffering a significant injury during the non-contact phase.
He tore an Achilles and will be out for at least nine months.
– Compiled by Heinz Schenk
Read the original article on News 24