At this time of the year, the rugby season in the southern hemisphere would have been in full swing if it wasn’t for the period of uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19.
COVID-19 throws rugby season into chaos
For the second weekend running, there are no live Super Rugby matches scheduled, and the latest developments have all but halted the players’ fitness regimens, especially with the looming national lockdown set to take effect in South Africa from the early hours of Friday. It is still unclear when the season will resume, and how it will affect the incoming tours later in the year.
A few Springboks players have, however, shared how they have been keeping fit amid this period of inaction.
How the Boks are keeping fit
Skipper Siya Kolisi got injured during the opening rounds of the Super Rugby season, and was on the comeback trail as the fixtures were suspended indefinitely.
The Stormers flanker has spent his time on the sidelines contributing way beyond the rugby field, as is in the process of finalising donations to hospitals in Khayelitsha, as well as his native Port Elizabeth.
“Everyone must do what they can to combat the spread of the pandemic and I hope this contribution will somehow make a difference,” he said.
Now unable to go to the gym or do some field training, he has converted a part of his backyard into a workout space.
“With the lockdown, you obviously cannot go out and train, so I’ve cordoned off a patch of my yard for training purposes,” said Kolisi.
Sharks skipper and World Cup-winning Bok centre Lukhanyo Am is another one who has not let this period of inactivity mess with his fitness.
The 26-year-old is one of the players who would have welcomed a bit of a rest after a long period of non-stop travel – having been part of the away leg of the 2019 Rugby Championship, before the triumphant trip to Japan, which was followed by another to the United Kingdom, where he turned out for the Barbarians.
Am also led the Sharks to a successful Australasian tour, where he played in all but one of their four matches.
Like Kolisi, he has had to improvise in terms of his training routine, and has been keeping busy with a series of body resistance training exercises indoors.
“It’s obviously a huge challenge for us as players because usually your whole week consists of team work – working, training and travelling together as a team. So, with the suspension of rugby it is quite challenging as you’re now required to be mostly indoors and alone,” Am told the Springbok website.
“It’s very different, but we try and approach it with a positive mindset and fortunately we have social media tools to keep updated with what’s going on and keep in touch with teammates, family and friends.
“In terms of work, we are still continuing with analysis, watching some game material and staying in touch with the coaches and your teammates.”
The Springboks were due back in action in July, but that is also in doubt due to the COVID-19 outbreak.