Former All Blacks coach John Mitchell says Heyneke Meyer is to blame for the Springboks’ lack of conditioning.
Last Saturday, for the third consecutive year, the Boks faded in the final quarter of a match against the All Blacks, who stepped up a gear to claim victory.
During the buildup to the Test, Meyer admitted that the Boks weren’t yet fit enough to win the World Cup and that he would be focusing on the players’ conditioning in the weeks ahead.
Mitchell doesn’t think that’s good enough, so close to the World Cup.
‘While the South African system, which sees the Super Rugby franchises control the players for most of the year, doesn’t help Meyer, the experienced coach knows the system and needs to take responsibility for it,’ wrote Mitchell on Scrum.com.
‘From what I’ve heard, when the Springboks assembled two weeks before the Rugby Championship began, it was the first time they had done fitness testing during Meyer’s tenure, which is ludicrous.
‘All strength and conditioning needs to be aligned to the style of rugby played. Players should be held accountable for their fitness throughout the season to aspire, achieve and set standards.
‘Meyer aims to focus on the players’ conditioning over the next month or so, but it may already be too late as far as the World Cup is concerned.’