The game time of a number of key Springboks will be managed throughout the Super Rugby series in the coming months following an agreement between the South African Rugby Union and the franchises. These players’ game time will be handled on an individual basis depending on their work load in the last year as well as injuries, in an effort to ensure the Springboks are managed as well as possible in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup in September and October. “We are extremely grateful to the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises for agreeing to assist in ensuring our key players’ game time is managed in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup. It’s wonderful to know we have the support and cooperation of the franchises as the Springboks prepare for the Rugby World Cup and we’d like to wish them all the best for the forthcoming months of Vodacom Super Rugby. It’s a massive year for rugby and we’re confident that our franchises can set the tone for the 2015 season by being competitive from the word go as the players aim to impress the national selectors to make it to the Rugby World Cup,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
The managing of the key players’ game time will exclude any matches in the Super Rugby finals series (play-offs, semi-finals and final), as well as the bye weeks, while it was also agreed that no player will play more than five consecutive weeks. This will also apply to players returning from injury. SARU also announced that Prof Pieter Kruger, who holds a PhD in Clinical and Performance Psychology from the North West University, will join the Springboks’ team management as Performance Psychologist for the duration of the 2015 season in a consultancy capacity and in cooperation with the North West University and MyPlayers.
Kruger is currently the Head of the Institute of Psychology & Wellbeing. He has worked with, among others, the Leopards Rugby Union, NWU-Pukke, ACT Brumbies, Harlequins Rugby Club in the UK, as well as the Chelsea and Arsenal Football Clubs. Most recently he has been a part of Lions management during their 2014 Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup campaigns.
“It’s great to have Pieter on board and I know he will make a huge difference for the Springboks. The field of sports psychology has become vital in professional sports and we’re grateful to SARU, North West University and MyPlayers for making it possible for Pieter to join the Springboks. Pieter will be attending to both team and individual aspects with a key focus on performance processes. He will work closely with the coaches to optimise team and individual performance under pressure and will use the latest intervention strategies in the field of cognitive behavioural psychology to achieve this,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. Furthermore, it has been confirmed that the Springboks will get their season underway against a World XV in Cape Town on 11 July, a week after the Super Rugby final. The match was initially scheduled for late August.