The third year in a World Cup cycle is notoriously punishing injury-wise, but Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts would prefer to get the hits out of the way now.
The Bok medical man knows that injuries are a part of rugby and is fairly philosophical about the game of chance that every player undertakes when they take the field at Test level.
Roberts explained at a press conference in Nelspruit on Monday that the key is playing the cards you are dealt as well as possible by carefully managing training time.
“That is the nature of the game, it is not a contact sport it is a collision sport so you do expect bumps and bruises, that is part of rugby and it really is about managing the guys in the week.
“If you look at statistics you can expect to pick up two injuries a game and some of them are serious and some aren’t,” he said.
The victory over Wales in Durban was a particularly taxing game, with the ball in play for a staggering 39 minutes, so training this week will be focused on quality and not quantity.
“In the end it is about getting the best out of the guys on Saturday, so if we have to pull them out of training during the week to ensure they can perform on Saturday we will do.
“We will taper back a bit in our training time, we will still have a high intensity but the training time will get cut back a bit,” said the Bok team doctor.
The year before the World Cup has always been a difficult one for the Boks, with the highest repective injury attrition rate, but Roberts pointed out that if they are going to happen, then this year is a good time.
“The third year is always the year where you expect a lot of injuries, but I am kind of philosophical about it now, I would rather guys have an injury now and be fresh for next year.
“Sometimes an injury at this stage gives the guys a break they need, an eight week break at this stage is not just a break from rugby but also a mental break to freshen them up.
“We never want injuries but if you are going to get injured I would rather have it now than next year,” he said.