'Red Sessions' for Western Province
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:05
It's tougher than 80 minutes of rugby
Western Province's evolution has started reaching all aspects of their game with coach Allister Coetzee starting to see dividends from his training park 'Red Sessions'.
Much has been made of Western Province's (and even the Stormers, in the latter stages of Super Rugby) move towards a more balanced game play, an attacking edge being added to their traditionally strong defensive plan.
In two games Province have amassed 76 points (against the Kings and Blue Bulls) while conceding only 33 - one more than their upcoming opposition, the Lions, who are impressing both in attack and defence.
Coetzee puts his team's impressive performances down to the new training regime that has been slowly evolving at Newlands.
This is coupled with his management of returning players. He has had the luxury of slowly integrating his returning stars rather than playing them in a desperate need to field a team (as was the case in Super Rugby).
"We have a 'Red Session' in the week which the players know they have to be prepared for," the coach said about his teams training.
"We put them into a place where they are not used to being in terms of intensity.
"These sessions are structured so that it is tougher than 80 minutes of rugby."
This new way of playing has been a long time coming for Coetzee and his teams, but there have been external factors that have slowed it's progress.
"It has been coming on for a while that we wanted to do away with the kicking defence, it is not a thing that has come over night," the coach said.
"Our training has become more integrated, even in Super Rugby this year.
"You can do this [high intensity training and game-play shifting] when you have your numbers going, but when you start to pick up injuries you have to shift focus to cobbling a team together.
"When you have players missing, you have to rush your players back and it may look like a medically fit team - but they may not be able to match the intensity."
With the return of six players last week, Coetzee opted to go with a settled starting team that was used to the new intensity instead of rushing those returning back - and it paid off against the Bulls who looked very out of sorts in comparison.
"That is why we look for our returning players to try and get through two of our Red Sessions before we get them fully involved in the matches," he concluded."
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