Professor Tim Noakes says the top Springboks must be rested for two months or Jake White’s team will pay the price at the 2007 World Cup.
Noakes told Die Burger that he is not surprised about the Boks growing injury list.
“Some of our top players have been playing rugby continuously for nearly three years,” he explained to Herbert Pretorius. “No player’s body can take so much punishment week in and week out.
“It’s no surprise that Bakkies Botha and Bryan Habana were injured in the Super 14 semi-final. They are two of the players who have been totally over-utilised the past three seasons.
“It is inevitable that they would be injured at some time or other. These were not freak injuries. Your brain tells you to continue, but your body will rebel at some stage.
“My advice is that key players like Matfield and Burger must forget about rugby for two months. They must not go near a rugby field, because it’s just as important that they get a mental break.”
Using the Sharks performance this season as an example, Noakes said: “After last year’s Currie Cup the players were given a month’s holiday [for the first time ever to his knowledge]. It’s no coincidence that these players were so sharp this year.”
Noakes said South Africa’s rugby bosses cannot hold White responsible for defeats if he does not have rested players to pick from.
“SA Rugby must take the blame for the consequences of their decision if they deny Jake’s request. If this will happen is another story, because usually the coach must face the firing squad.”