Player welfare paramount for Boks

August 14, 2014
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At first glance the Springbok team named by Meyer looks like the best we can put on the field at this stage considering the injuries.

Conditioning of Players

Conditioning of Players

Let’s be honest, this is a strong Bok team and should have no problem with putting the Argentinians away at Loftus on Saturday, but that is not really our goal this year. Captain Jean de Villiers has already spoken about the desire to beat the All Blacks this year and their goals they have set themselves for the Castle Rugby Championship.

To beat the All Blacks you need a few things in your favour with a little bit of luck as well.

One of the biggest concerns for the Springboks should be the conditioning of players and how they will be able to last in that last 10 to 20 minutes against an All Black or Aussie side. Player conditioning is not something you only teach your players and coaches, but it is a way of life and some cooperation between Springbok coaching staff and the coaches of the unions.

Player burnout is becoming more common these days in rugby union than potholes on African roads and this must be one of Meyers biggest concerns looking at this year’s games and leading up to next year’s World Cup in England.

Let’s take a player like Duane Vermeulen, he has played more or less 1221 minutes of Super Rugby this year, which gets you 76.3 minutes a match. Duane will most probably play 14 Tests for the Boks this year which will give him 2289 minutes of top class rugby he by the end of the season if he does not get injured.

Duane average seven tackles a game, this will give him a minimum of 220 tackles he would have made during the season. On average Duane will carry the ball about 270 times, he also takes more or less 2 kickoffs per game which he runs up in contact, that’s another minimum of 47 contacts for the season.

We can go on and include rucks and mauls, lineouts, scrums and pickup from scrums not to mention that Duane will most probably run about 240 km a year on the rugby field.

Considering that you have about 12 other players in Meyers team that have the same or even more of a workload in a season we can understand the reason why Meyer brought through some new players in recent test.

The only way to be able to win against the All Blacks and more important to win a World Cup will be for all parties concerned to look at the players welfare and the workload they carry. If you do not have a fit and injury free 30 man group for your national team you can forget to achieve any of these goals.

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