South African teams return to training

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Specific health checks and protocols were completed on Monday with players needing three weeks of contact training before they can return to competitive play.

 

While October 10 is the planned start for competition, there is a chance it could start on October 3.

 

However, South Africa Rugby's chief executive Jurie Roux said they were working with the Government and stakeholders towards a resumption date but at the same time they were mindful of pitfalls associated with a return and were away that things could change overnight.

 

Teams have been in five weeks of non-contact training in small groups.

 

Sharks coach Sean Everitt told sarugby.co.za: "The players have been hoping for this for quite a while now. It is certainly a step in the right direction. Everyone is excited and see a light in the tunnel that there is a start ahead."

 

Stormers coach John Dobson had similar thoughts.

 

"This is a big step forward for everyone in South African rugby, and our players and management could not be more excited to move into the next phase of our preparations with contact training," he said.

Bulls coach and former World Cup-winning coach Jake White said the return to contact training was a relief, but they would have to be smart in how they phased in the contact.

 

"We are very happy to be back in some form of official rugby training – it has been challenging to work in little groups," he said.

 

"The important thing now is to work out with the conditioning coaches how to gradually bring in all the conditioning and contact aspects that we need to do. So, it will be body-suits, contact shields and simulating certain things in the game to build up the confidence and contact, and slowly by the time we kick-off, hopefully, the boys will be ready."

 

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen is going to take a different approach and will continue to have his players training in small groups.

 

"The guys have worked hard on the non-contact aspects of the game in the last few weeks, and it is a natural progression to now move to contact training.

 

"We will still manage it in our groups of five, as we feel we can control things a lot better that way, and then we will progress from there," he said.