April 19, 2024

New Bok coaches get together to start planning for the season

The Springbok coaches set the tone for a productive season-opening national alignment camp at a two-day strategic coaches’ session on Monday and Tuesday in Cape Town, where they discussed their areas of expertise and aligned on the way forward for the 2024 season.

The camp marked the first in-person Springbok coaches meeting following the team’s Rugby World Cup triumph in France in 2023, and since the appointment of Jerry Flannery and Tony Brown as new defence and attack specialists – filling the roles vacated by the departure of Jacques Nienaber and Felix Jones to Ireland and England respectively – and former international referee Jaco Peyper as the team’s national laws advisor.

The invited group of players will join the camp on Tuesday evening, where they will participate in a string of boardroom sessions until Thursday. The focus of the alignment camp will be to expose the players to the demands of Springbok rugby, the key areas for the coaches in the national system, and what the coaches will be looking for from the players when they select the squad for the international season.

The back-to-back world champions will kick off the season on Saturday 22 June against Wales at Twickenham before returning to South Africa for the Castle Lager Incoming Series, which features a two-Test series against Ireland on 6 and 13 July in Pretoria and Durban respectively, and a historic Test against Portugal in Bloemfontein on 20 July.

This will be followed by the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in August and September which will see the team play two away Tests against Australia, successive home Tests against New Zealand in Johannesburg and Cape Town, a trip to Argentina, and a home Test against the Pumas in Nelspruit.

“It was fantastic to have the coaches and Jaco in the same room and to share our ideas with an eye on the 2024 season,” said Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.

“We’ve had several online meetings in the last few months, but the human element is always great, and this camp allowed everyone to get to know one another in a personal and professional manner.”

Erasmus added: “We are pleased with the foundation laid before we kick off the player sessions on Wednesday, and it’s great to see the enthusiasm among the coaches to get the season underway.

“Tony, Jerry and Jaco leaped straight into the swing of things, and it’s fantastic to see how they bonded with the rest of the coaching team who have been in the system for the last few years, so we are looking forward to this new chapter for Springbok rugby.”

Erasmus was thrilled about welcoming the players to the first of three alignment camps before the opening Test and said: “As a coaching team we have a good idea of what we’d like to do this season and we are excited to present our key pillars to this group of players.

“This is a solid group of players, and these camps will be invaluable in putting the groundwork in place – not only for this season but also to set the tone in terms of where we’d like to take our game going forward.

“The sport is progressing at a rapid rate, and we must grow as a team to remain at the forefront of where rugby is moving. We made it clear last year that what we did in 2019 would not be enough to defend our title at the 2023 World Cup, and the same concept applies after last year’s international spectacle.”

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