Sat, 15 Aug 2020

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"The players would only need about three to four weeks of contact training to be in decent shape to play competitively again. Of course, that's also dependent on a player having effective non-contact training as well for about a month before that."

If such a period sounds a bit hair-raising in terms of how short it is, it's not unprecedented.

New Zealand's franchise only commenced with training again on 18 May for a 13 June start of Super Rugby Aotearoa, though it must be taken into account that the country's lockdown was short and the players weren't prohibited from doing outdoor exercise for an extended period like their South African counterparts.

Nonetheless, approximately eight weeks seems to be the magic number for a return to play.

However, Janse van Rensburg - rather importantly - notes that there will never be a correct answer for what constitutes a proper conditioning period.

"Ideally, any conditioning coach would tell you that he or she would want a long, extended pre-season with the players. But you could also argue that the post-World Cup period was maybe a bit too long for some teams," he said.

"The thing is, each player's body is different and each of them would actually require a programme tailored for them. Yet we all know that the calendar doesn't allow for that.

"So it's really just about developing a plan with what's in front of you and doing your best to make things work. But don't be surprised if we can get back to playing relatively soon."

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