Each Springbok player internationally played 8-10 matches in the last few months and received sufficient exposure, which is a positive outlook for the team . Springbok Assistant Coach Mzwandile Stick stays positive about the tough physical competition ahead as they are in a good position for the British Irish Lions Test match. The purpose of the warm-up match against Georgia would be ample preparation for the team in terms of test match preparation.
“The team is in a good space if we look at players like Lukhanyo Am and Ox Nche who have been playing consistently back to back matches and also Siya Kolisi moving to Durban with the Cell C Sharks and receiving the necessary game time “ said Stick
“ No-one wants to listen to any excuses now, as a team we have managed to put all our systems in place in Bloemfontein once again there are no excuses and we are looking forward to the challenges ”
The team selection boasted some youth players, the adaptation of the players into the squad were fairly easy as bringing in “ young blood “ would enhance the team with new energy as well. Younger players like Aphelele Fassi bring in an element of brand new energy into the team , the squad is made up of a selection of experienced players as well which brings in maturity into the team “ So I am excited the young players bring in some energy into our system and once again when we talk about our goals as a team we really want to build some depth in our squad and be a family “ said Stick . Development is critical in the system, so that when the time comes and players like Faf De Klerk leaves the squad in 5 years that there is a succession plan in place and players are able to be replaced easily. Younger players may get the opportunity to play against Georgia and the British and Irish Lions.
The players improved om the off-the-ball play, if rated in percentage terms ,90% improved said Stick . Stick also mentions that when playing against the British and Irish Lions that you will need to play at your best and performance levels should be increasingly high . In working with a defense coach for each position there are approximately four extremely tough positions that you are up against . When it comes to the British and Irish Lions even if you are playing off the bench you are a up against world class players from the northern hemisphere and that he keeps as a reminder. The Springboks would be up for an immense challenge as the British and Irish Lions selection for their loose forwards are fast, by saying that the work rate of team must increase and the team will have to perform at their best.
Springbok Lukhanyo Am confidence and experience from the Cell C Sharks for him coming into the Springbok system is player driven and the gap between senior and younger players are minimized within the squad “ We all push each other whether you are junior or senior we try to close that gap and try to pull into the same direction “ said Am.
“ The competition will always be there amongst players, we know we are not here for ourselves but to help and improve one another all the time , in terms of selection the coaches select from what they need from each individual player “ said Am.
In terms of different team dynamics and team work “ we each bring our own energy and its been a blessing just being in the camp and this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime “ said Rosko Specman .
Specman draws his learning curve from players like Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mpimpi to improve his game as they played at the highest level.
“ You don’t want to give Aphelele Fassi game time at the same time as Rosko Specman or Yaw Penxe when you are not helping them because they will be under massive test match pressure at Test Match Level. You want to make sure they build their confidence by letting them work with experienced players.”
Source : Fatima Said