KSA Shark ©

South Africans lack fitness, slow to adapt


Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Super 14 on 25 Feb 2008 at 11:30

Lack of fitness and a sluggish ability to adapt is holding back the South African teams early in the Super 14, according to Blues coach David Nucifora.

The Blues thrashed the Lions 55-10 in Johannesburg yesterday to follow the Crusaders’ equally-comprehensive 54-19 triumph in Pretoria the day before.

The NZ Herald reports that it already eclipses last year’s abysmal record for New Zealand teams on South African soil, who could manage just one win between them.

While some are trumpeting the results this weekend as a symbol of South African decline since the Springboks lifted the World Cup four months ago, Nucifora disagreed.

“There’s not really a correlation between what happened at the World Cup and this competition,” he said.

Several of South Africa’s premier players are injured or have left for European contracts but Nucifora cited more ingrained issues.

South African teams were still coming to grips with the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) introduced this year, he believed, while New Zealand teams simply appeared be more fit in the opening weeks of the competition.

“Fitness is a very important factor,” Nucifora said.

“I do think it’s showing up. To play the pace we’re playing at for 80 minutes is a credit to the players.

“Add to that the ELVs have come in, and I think traditionally Australian and New Zealand teams adapt to change a little bit quicker than the South Africans do.

“It’s probably some advantage playing their teams a little bit earlier in the competition.”

Nucifora predicted the Sharks, also unbeaten after two narrow wins, would adapt best and become a major threat in the competition.



8 Comments

  • I agree with the perception of poor fitness in the South African teams.

    I’m not sure how to express it: not only have the Sharks looked sluggish, but they also just haven’t looked particularly hungry on the field.

    I actually think the Stormers have looked rather good. They were unlucky to not finish some key moves to put away the Bulls, and they lost on Saturday mostly because they let their discipline slide.

  • Comment 1, posted at 25.02.08 11:35:52 by Waz Reply
    WazUnder 21 player
     
  • “South African teams were still coming to grips with the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) introduced this year, he believed, while New Zealand teams simply appeared be more fit in the opening weeks of the competition.”

    Ironic, if you consider that a large part of the testing of the new laws was done in SA. :oops:

  • Comment 2, posted at 25.02.08 11:58:00 by Ollie Reply
    OllieVodacom Cup player
     
  • kind of strange, isn’t it? Didn’t we have Ian Mac on the committee that came up with these laws?

    Why has he not been working with the SA coaches to get them up to scratch?

  • Comment 3, posted at 25.02.08 12:04:13 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • Too logical an approach Rob.

  • Comment 4, posted at 25.02.08 12:04:58 by Ollie Reply

    OllieVodacom Cup player
     
  • Is it possibly not a mental block of some sort, rather than a question of procedure or coaching?

    South African sides have often been criticised for being slow to adapt to changes in the game, compared to our arch-rivals Aus and NZ. Is it not something to do with the indelible stain of old-school rugby our players can’t seem to wash off?

  • Comment 5, posted at 25.02.08 12:11:14 by Waz Reply

    WazUnder 21 player
     
  • fair enough. That’ll teach me

  • Comment 6, posted at 25.02.08 12:11:22 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     
  • A comment made by Rassie the other day was that they (Stormers) had decided to embrace the changes and not question them. That makes it easier all round.

  • Comment 7, posted at 25.02.08 12:13:44 by Nessa Reply

    NessaCurrie Cup player
     
  • Yeah… although there has been a fair amount of bitching about teh new laws in the press

  • Comment 8, posted at 25.02.08 12:39:48 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
     

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