Why the Lions will have no excuse for being out of shape should Super rugby return this season

Flyhalf and captain Elton Jantjies already has a gym fitted at his home but the younger players who hold a single contract often don’t.
Flyhalf and captain Elton Jantjies already has a gym fitted at his home but the younger players who hold a single contract often don’t.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Should Super rugby return this season the Lions will have no excuse for being out of shape.

The nationwide 21-day lockdown that kicks in on Thursday night as a means of curbing the spread of Covid-19 should not impact their fitness as they have been given equipment to gym at home.

The players have also been given personalised fitness programmes that they have to adhere to while they practice social distancing.

Lions strength and conditioning coach Rupert Oberholster admitted the biggest challenge over the 21-day lockdown will be to stick to a fitness routine.

“I have arranged with a few biokinetic practices and gyms the temporary use of their rowing machines‚ gym bikes and treadmills.

"I asked my gym if we could borrow rowing machines and spinning bikes because clearly players won’t be able to run on a field or on the street.”

Some players are more in need of the equipment than others.

Flyhalf and captain Elton Jantjies already has a gym fitted at his home but the younger players who hold a single contract often don’t.

Oberholster explained the type of fitness exercises the players will be performing while they keep their distance include swimming‚ running‚ skipping‚ burpees‚ boxing‚ agility training if they have a small patch of grass‚ running with a high knee lift in one spot and mattress running.

He said the players who live on farms or small holdings will be able to do their normal running routines.

To be fair‚ in the case of the Lions and the Bulls‚ they’ve had to self isolate since their return from Australasia.

“In the first week of self-isolation I gave each player a fitness and gym programme‚” said Oberholster.

“Players were expected to inform us what equipment they have and where they were located (farm‚ or house in Johannesburg).

“They also had to find a field on which to run‚ or a road well away from other users.”

Oberholster explained some players procured weights so that they could follow the gym programme.

“I also gave 14 players some of my equipment.

"The players were expected to follow the programme and give updates so that we could monitor their progress.”

Oberholster said each player had specific goals and loaded their mindset and motivation.

“I always try to look at the silver lining in every situation. It has also shown us how thankful we should be and how we take things for granted.”

Earlier this month Super Rugby was suspended ‘for the foreseeable future’ and a date for the resumption of the tournament is yet to be established.


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