Boks ready to 'go mental' in Salta

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 12:41

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks will not get sidetracked by talk of 'jet lag' or the undersized pitch in Salta.

Not only will the South African team have to deal with a 17-hour trip - which includes a stop-over in Sao Paulo, Brazil - but there is also the confined spaces of the pitch for their match against Argentina on Saturday.

Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, multi-purpose stadium in Salta, Argentina, does not have your regular sized rugby pitch.

While it is listed as being 70 metres wide, which is acceptable by World Rugby standards, it is common knowledge that the touchlines are often brought in by as much as 10 metres to suit the home team.

Bok flank Jaco Kriel is adamant the they will not be affected by any of the off-field issues when they face Los Pumas.

Team doctor Konrad von Hagen also said that travelling to Argentina is not so bad, but it is the return flight to South Africa which usually does most of the damage to players.

"We leave in the morning [11.00 SA time, Wednesday] and we get there late at night [23.00 Buenos Aires time the same day],"Von Hagen said.

"The players not sleep during the flight and we will ensure they will be awake and tired when they get there [Buenos Aires] late at night," he said, adding: "They won't have any trouble falling asleep.

"They can then wake up at a normal time the next morning and feel they have had a proper sleep. We travel to Salta and have a session that afternoon.

"That six hours [time difference between South Africa and Argentina] I am not to concerned about.

"Because we are flying in the day we won't need to take any sleeping pills or do any of the usual things we do to avoid jet lag. Flying in that direction is much easier."

Kriel, who has travelled with the Lions to Argentina before said you "feel quite fresh" when you get to there.

He said the players have to be "mentally tough" enough to ensure the size of the pitch is not a distraction.

"You can't let the field or the stadium get into your head, you have a job to do," the loose forward said.

He said they are all professionals and have travelled to Argentina before, so they know what to do and how to manage it.

"You can only work so hard [in training], the rest is really mental [psychological],"he said of the travel and field size issues.

"We are professional sportsman and we have to know where you are at.

"We have in Pieter Kruger a great person [psychologist] that helps the players with that.

"There are a lot of circumstances that are different, but you can't let that get into your head.

"I believe you must enjoy your job and do what you love."

@rugby365

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