South African Rugby
De Villiers raises burnout fears
November 30, 2009
South Africa coach Peter de Villiers, Italy v South Africa, Stadio Friuli, Udine, November 21, 2009
Peter De Villiers is fearful of the workload place on leading players © Getty Images

Peter De Villiers has fired a warning to South African rugby chiefs, insisting that the workloads of leading players will need to be managed ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Springbok coach saw his side defeated 15-10 by Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday, bringing a disappointing end to an otherwise hugely successful year that included a Tri-Nations title and series victory over the British & Irish Lions. Many of De Villiers' players also played a full part in the Super 14 and a number in the Currie Cup, both competitions being won by Pretoria's Bulls.

Some members of the touring party have arrived back in South Africa with several players, including scrum-half Fourie du Preez, lock Victor Matfield and wing Bryan Habana, remaining in London to play for the Barbarians against the All Blacks at Twickenham on Saturday.

"A number of players have played over 2000 minutes of rugby this year encompassing the Super 14, Lions Series, Tri-Nations and Currie Cup. We need a unified approach to address this and a host of other matters relevant to the welfare of our top players.

"It's imperative that we monitor the players training and playing load with their longer term well being in mind. This (2009) has been a very long season and it is evident that many players are mentally and physically fatigued.

"The biggest concern, however, is the cumulative effect of the amount of rugby that Springbok players have played over the past three years, as we know that this puts them at risk to injury in the following year. In order to get best out of our players for 2011 we will have to manage their training and playing times during 2010."

De Villiers will now put his concerns to the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and admitted that while the tour had not been a success, with only one Test win and two midweek losses accompanying Saturday's reverse, his side had plenty to be proud of. They were named as IRB Team of the Year on Saturday.

"It is never nice to lose but we have learnt a lot from this tour," he said. "Regardless of the disappointing end to the year you cannot take away the successes that made this team the best in the world in 2009.

"We have been able to identify our key focus areas for next year and we have been able to identify some of the players who will take the Springboks forward after 2011."


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