Three months ago the newspapers were full of stories about how Springbok coach Pieter de Villiers is going to be resting his key players ahead of the World Cup next year, by not sending them on the End of year Tour to Britain. Will this happen?
In amongst the Provisional Training Squad announced last weekend were all the names that the very same coach said he would be resting – Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Morne Steyn. The only players not there are as a result of injury like John Smit, Fourie du Preez and Heinrich Brussouw. Does this mean the players are going on the tour or are they mainly there to give guidance as this weekend training camp is more about tactics and discussions than anything physical.
Take a look at the All Blacks team announced to take the same tour to the British Isles, it seems to me that they are sending a pretty powerful team, and the same goes for the Aussies. So how do their players manage? You don’t see Richie McCaw or Dan Carter sitting out too many NZ matches because they are tired. Their rugby bosses do things slightly differently.
For all the other rugby playing nations, there seems to be a lot of emphasis placed on how well the team performs. You won’t see a weakened International team taking the field anywhere else in the world. Why should South Africa? The big difference comes when you look at how their players are managed at provincial level.
We know the New Zealand way is to rest your core players from the Super 14 games, and the same is likely to happen next year, as we already know that Richie McCaw will be sitting out the first few rounds of the competition to take an extended break. A similar thing is currently happening in Ireland. All their players have a limit of 30 rugby matches a year, and they will not exceed that. But again, their players aren’t rested at international level, they are forced to sit out provincial games.
South Africa have seemed to catch on somewhere, pulling the Springboks from the Currie Cup for a few weeks, but is that really enough? Why not send the best possible team to the UK, but plan it properly by resting the players in the beginning of the year? Surely we know that there will be an end of year tour. Do we not take this international tour as seriously as we should?Tweet