Blistering heat and a punishing training schedule combine to form a tough preseason for the extended Stormers squad.
Another scorcher of an afternoon saw them carry out lineout and backline shadow moves at their facility in Bellville. The session followed a spilt forwards and backs session in the morning, and fitness around midday.
“Hoe gaan dit?” a passer by asked Egon Seconds as he headed for his car. “Moeg,” Seconds smiled. He could have spoken for the entire squad.
The schedule is punishing and intentionally so. The Stormers coaching team are under no illusions that the primary task of avoiding relegation from the competition will be easy, and are thus ensuring the squad is drilled and prepared for the massive challenge ahead.
Both Gary Gold and Kobus van der Merwe resemble individuals under pressure, but they would have been satisfied with a session in which “intensity” was the watch word. In fact it’s the new buzz word around Newlands, a major component of the ‘style’ the new coaching team are trying to introduce. Nick Mallett was also in attendance, far more subdued than his coaching team.
Handling errors were not absent, nor the occasional overthrow, but there was plenty of pace and both Hanyani Shimange and Schalk Brits threw well. Rugby is an easy game when there is no opposition, however.
Luke Watson missed training after straining his back during a gym session earlier today. There isn’t long-term concern, however, and Van der Merwe made express mention of the “incredible condition” Watson is in after a pre-season spent in the gym. Watson now weighs in at 102kg, despite having lowered his body fat percentage.
Marius Joubert is fit again after his long term concern, and slotted in outside De Wet Barry in shadow drills.
Leopards pivot Naas Olivier continues his trial with the team. Van der Merwe confirmed that Olvier will remain with the squad for a month, partaking in both of the upcoming trial games against the Spears and Bulls, whereafter a decision regarding his inclusion in the final squad will be taken.
Louis Koen concluded the session with a goalkicking session.