Centre Damian de Allende said on Wednesday that the Springboks have focused on being fitter than ever this year in order to do justice to the more high-tempo game plan most people are hoping they implement in 2017.
With the Lions being the country’s most successful Super Rugby side, there has been pressure on the Springboks to emulate their expansive, up-tempo style of play, but as De Allende pointed out, the groundwork has to be laid for that in terms of fitness and training.
“It’s tough to play that way if physically you’re not there. You also have to train that way and for a lot of seasons teams have wanted to play that way, but we haven’t trained like that.
“But this year we’ve all been striving for that, the plan is to make our play more dynamic, and our fitness levels have improved immensely. At the start of the season I was probably the fittest I’ve ever been.
“The Stormers are now training like that, we’re not perfect yet, but we’ve come a long way and we’ve scored some great tries, even from our own 22. We’re still getting better,” De Allende said.
The 25-year-old said he hopes the new international season sees the Springboks all on the same page.
“Every Super Rugby franchise is heading in the same direction and once we all join the Springboks, I hope we’re all on the same page, we should all have the same fitness levels. We’ve changed our mindset a lot and I hope we can all combine better,” he said.
De Allende is still in a moon boot following his ankle injury, but is hopeful that the latter half of May will see his return to action.