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Rugby | Springboks

Camp wasn't 'wasted time' - Smith

Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith believes that the Bok camp this week was definitely not "wasted time".

Smith said the camp had so many advantages in that players could be given information on the style of play, the way the Boks would approach the international season and several other factors that usually eat up time in a week before a test match.

The players left Tuesday afternoon after the three-day camp - the first of three this year - ahead of their three-test series against France in June.

Smith said that the camps prepared players for their roles in the side so that when it comes to test rugby, they are well-versed.

"We want to get a basic playing style, a basic shape in general play. It is very important that every player knows their role and what they need to do," he explained.

"If passing is not their skill, then cleaning or rucking might be. Just to make them understand how we think about the game, how to manage the ball in the game, ball-in-hand. Test matches are still played in a test match way, but to make everybody understand what we want.

"We have planned well, it will be simple, but they will leave and it will not be wasted time."

Smith praised the franchise coaches - of which he is one - for working together to help rectify Springbok rugby.

"That is something South Africans must be proud of, working together with the same aim. Without talking about too many other teams, the national team comes first," he added.

"I believe that is what we have to do in South Africa. It is excellent, being one of the franchise coaches and having certain meetings with them and their approach is excellent. The way they embrace the ball in hand approach a little more is excellent.

"Although it stays two different things to play Super Rugby and test rugby, it is just great to have everyone chip in and help the players. I think it is a good compliment to all franchises that they are willing to help and benefit SA Rugby in that way."

The Bok assistant also clarified his role in the team as the new attacking coach, a role previously held by Johan van Graan, who also stays with the management but will focus on different areas now.

"I believe we need everybody to coach. Johan has gained a lot of experience and we’ve worked well together last year already on the end of year tour.

"We know each other well and we are never going to be the one-man act, although I’m going to be responsible for the attack, he will be involved. He will be there as breakdown coach, running lines, transfer and skills upgrading. So it will be everybody that will be involved.

"We are very comfortable in the way we have planned. I need hands, we need hands, he probably needed hands before. No, it will be a well-organised and well-planned approach."

It may only be the first camp, but Smith and coach Allister Coetzee are hoping it prepares the groundwork for a better season than 2016.


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