Poor logistical planning has left the Springboks with a serious headache ahead of Saturday’s Test against Ireland.
By the time the Boks arrive in Dublin on Friday they could consider themselves experts on travel in the Irish countryside.
They are currently based in the town of Dunboyne and training in Westmantown, a 20-minute drive (one-way) from their hotel. To compound their problems, the hotel’s gym facilities don’t meet the requirements of an international rugby team, which necessitates another 20-minute drive (one-way) in the afternoon to do their gym work.
Saru only have themselves to blame for the inconvenience being experienced in Ireland, as their lethargic approach to appointing a team manager has left the Boks having to endure senseless extra traveling.
Before departure, coach Jake white was adamant that the Test at Lansdowne Road would be his team’s toughest, and the travel sideshow will not help preparation.
“The first match of any tour is always difficult,” White told Jacques van der Westhuyzen of the Pretoria news . “We’ve got some new players in the system having left many of the older guys at home.
“The first Test always sets the tone for the rest of the tour, so it’s important we win this one.”
Meanwhile, the Bok training has been far from awe inspiring. The lineouts in particular were a shambles and will have to improve significantly if the Boks are to avoid being dominated by Ireland locks Donnacha O’Callaghan and IRB Player of the Year nominee Paul O’Connell.
Captain John Smit reportedly expressed his frustration, using some choice words, at this facet of play, as too many balls failed to find their target. Albert van den Berg has been entrusted with the duty of marshaling the lineout but many have reservations about his aptitude for this role.
White however downplayed the dire showing, saying they would resolve the problem by Saturday.
“It’s always going to be difficult without Victor (Matfield) and Bakkies (Botha) here. We’ve got a completely different lineout on tour, but it’s an opportunity for these guys.