Inside The Super Rugby Camp: Prepping For Another Big Game On Friday

Friday is all about focusing before game day. You've done the homework, now it's time to achieve results.

Words by Thomas Okes | Photographs by Paul Samuels |

If Sunday morning felt like waking up after being in several car crashes, what must it take to prepare for another couple of them? On the day before another game, Jesse says, a pro rugby player must channel all his nervousness and excitement into a calm and coherent vision. “All the homework has been done. Now, you must just live in the moment.”

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That moment can be chaotic. One prominent rugby commentator recently tweeted that rugby is a matter of making complex decisions under extreme stress – like ordering a pizza in the middle of a train wreck. What does it take to “be” in a moment like this? Putter says it might come down to something far off the field. “I think the essence of being able to focus on the here and now of a rugby match is making sure your personal life is in order. Relationships are particularly important; no one wants to be arguing with a spouse or debating with a coach on the eve of a game.”

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Stephan du Toit says there is one tradition that is designed to bring each and every player in a team together as one after week’s training, engaged and interconnected. “The captain’s run starts with a team meeting, where leaders in the team highlight specific goals or messages in attack, defence, breakdown, kicking, and so on,” he says. “The coaches are present during this meeting and can assist if the players need anything, but otherwise the team meeting is lead by the players within the squad. They will discuss different scenarios and ensure every detail is covered.”

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From there the team will head out onto the field. “The field session might start with a fun runaround, followed by more serious, gameplan-specific, in-game scenarios. All-in-all the captain’s run takes about 60 minutes, and there is usually time for players to work on individual objectives as well – a kicker might decide to spend some time working on his range, or a hooker might fine-tune some throw-ins.”

This is a time for the captain to not only rally his troops and stamp his authority on a diverse group of men but to ensure all eyes are up front. “When the captain takes over from the coaches, he will strengthen the messages that all of the coaches have spelt out during the week – but most importantly, he will reiterate that all the prep is now done. It’s go time.”

Click on each link for a detailed description of what the Super Rugby athletes do to recover and prepare mentally and physically, on each day of the week.

READ MORE ON: athletes coach DOMs recovery rugby springboks training

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