Springbok assistant coaches Deon Davids and Daan Human joined the Bok Women coaching staff – Louis Koen, Laurian Johannes-Haupt and Franzel September – at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport this week for two days each of scrums and lineouts, with the players in the national training squad responding in a very positive manner.
Nineteen forwards were invited to the camp and according to Davids, the alignment of systems was a focus point for the week.
“Every team has its own strengths and style, but it is fair to say the Springbok men and women share a similar approach when it comes to forward play, so we could easily ask the players to apply those principles that are important in the Springbok set-up,” Davids said afterwards.
“There has always been good synergy between the Boks and this team and I am delighted to be back to help where I can and to add value when requested to do so.
“We assisted at the beginning of last season as well and I can see the progress since then, which is great to witness. Their performances in recent months, like a third-place finish at the WXV 2 tournament, was a good indication that the progress is real and measurable.
“The enthusiasm and willingness to learn from these players are always a highlight for me coming back to coach here.”
Davids feels that shared experiences will improve the squad even more: “As coaches, we discussed numerous rugby related issues and what works for us respectively.
“The Springboks learned certain lessons leading up to the World Cup last year which we shared with the coaches, as they are also getting into their World Cup cycle for next year's tournament in England.”
Most of the Springbok coaching staff assisted the Springbok Women in the early part of last season and Davids said they are keen to continue that.
“To be here allows us to assess what the needs are and how we can keep adding value when asked. The foundation we found here is a solid one compared to last time around, but we would agree there is still a lot more to be done,” Davids concluded.
Johannes-Haupt said the feedback from the Bok assistant coaches was very valuable.
“They know what they are talking about as one would expect from a set-up that won the World Cup twice,” said Johannes-Haupt.
“It is very encouraging and positive for us to get their input and feedback and the response from the players is gold for our system. The systems are pretty much aligned, it is just those finer details which they mastered that will give us a boost.
“What was also pleasing is the recognition from Daan and Deon that we have made good progress since they last worked with the team.”
For September, the camp came at an opportune time: “We assessed where we were as a team at the end of the last season and realised that our forward pack is an asset and weapon.
“Our set piece is very competitive and having a camp specifically for the forwards assisted in fine-tuning that for us, especially as we could tap into the knowledge and experience of the Bok coaches.
“The one thing that was clear from them that fitted into our philosophy as well was about the systems we use. We were aligned that the system will deliver the results, irrespective of the personnel, and the more simplistic it is, the better.
“One often assumes that the higher up you go, the more fancy your systems should be, but we were comforted by the fact that both Daan and Deon believe that simplicity is golden."
Human and Davids will again attend training sessions in Cape Town next week when the full training squad will assemble as they start preparing for their European tour in March.
Players attending the forwards camp:
Props: Xoliswa Khuzwayo, Sanelisiwe Charlie, Aliyah Tchogna Njamen, Asiza Mkiva, Amahle Nyoba.
Hookers: Roseline Botes, Micke Gunter, Anuskha Groenewald.
Locks: Nolusindi Booi, Samantha Els, Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Nomsa Mokwai, Olwethu Kasibe, Hlomla Puzi, Vainah Ubisi.
Loose forwards: Sinelitha Noxeke, Anathi Qolo, Nokubonga Siko, Nompumelelo Mathe.