WP up the ante

Keo.co.za brought you the Vodacom Western Province training session live from Bellville Rugby Club, where the emphasis was mainly on ball skills.

1. The players make their way onto the field. The weather in Cape Town today has been very humid, and despite the overcast conditions, it is a moggy 28 degrees. All of the players seem to be in high spirits, laughing and joking around with each other.

2. The coaches are yet to emerge from the clubhouse, but the players begin the session with some skills exercises. This particular drill involves two men running at one defender between the touchline and the 5m and trying to get the pass away without getting touched. The passes become more flamboyant and inventive as the exercise progresses, and even the tight forwards are showing some good hands.

3. Kobus van der Merwe, Gary Gold and Jerome Paarwater arrive on the field and the squad comes together. So far, there has been no Ross Skeate, Huia Edmonds or Justin Melck on the scene. Robbie Diack sidles up to the grandstand and takes a seat. His calf is heavily strapped, but he assures the fans watching on that he will be alright for the crunch match in Bloemfontein.

4. Van der Merwe instigates some simple skill drills to start off with, and the squad splits up into groups of five and run it through the hands. The coach ups the tempo every five minutes by urging the players to get the ball away quicker, cutting down the amount of time it takes to reach the man out wide.

5. Now the team begins to run some shadow rugby from the lineout. The team is really mixing it up, with forwards and backs alternating all the time in the backline.

6. Eddie Andrews hasn’t been at the practice. The inside information is that he’s gone back to train with the Springboks.

7. WP have been trying some elaborate manouevuers in the backline off the lineout, with mixed success. A few balls have gone down, and passes have gone astray. Luke Watson calls in his charges presumably to chat to them about their concentration.

8. There is a period where the players continue to drop the final pass, and then Kobus van der Merwe calls them in for a talk. The improvement is immediate and the intensity has increased threefold. There’s also plenty of communication, as they practice a few more attacking moves from the lineout before doing the same with their scrums. This continues for awhile longer, and keo.co.za leaves them still training arduously.

By Jon Cardinelli, at Bellville Rugby Club