Loffie: Nurture our talent

SA U19 coach Eugene Eloff has supported Jake White’s claims that the country’s youngsters are poorly conditioned.

The Baby Boks didn’t get past the pool stages of this year’s World Championship, and were often overpowered by their more physical opponents.

“The other nations were far better prepared in terms of physical conditioning,” Eloff told keo.co.za. “They get together long before we start training as a team and are put on strength and power programmes even earlier.”

The recent injury crisis that has hit the Bok camp has sparked a debate of whether South African players are more susceptible to injury.

Jake White has stated that a player coming through the age group level straight into Super 14 and Springbok set-ups will break down sooner rather than later, as they need more time to mature physically.

SA Rugby’s manager of national teams, Andy Marinos has agreed with White, saying that more attention to physical development needs to start at school level.

“Players in the France U19 side begin their physical training 10 months before the tournament,” said Eloff. “We need a longer period to prepare for these encounters.

“I would like to see the elite players being taken out of the game after representing SA at U19 or U21 level so that they can be built up to cope with the demands of senior rugby.”

By Jon Cardinelli