A group of 14 players assembled in Cape Town two Sundays ago for the three-week camp, and they wrapped up a productive second block of training on Friday. They will assemble in Stellenbosch on Sunday for the closing week of the camp.
“It has been great to see the players’ attitude and their application of what we’ve been working through,” said Nienaber.
“Our focus in the first week was mainly on the rugby fundamentals and building a base from a physical point of view. This week we built on that by working on more specific rugby conditioning to add the off-field alignment sessions.
“We’ll close off the camp in Stellenbosch late next week where we plan to step up the intensity of our field sessions and build on what we achieved this week.”
Nienaber said the camp, albeit with a small group, served as a big step for the players and coaches as the team build toward to the Rugby World Cup in France in September and October.
“We have six Test matches before the Rugby World Cup and then we face the massive task of trying the defend our title, so every opportunity we receive to work with the players is of importance,” said Nienaber.
“This camp has been extremely beneficial in that it offered us the opportunity to fine tune the fundamentals of our game, build greater alignment in terms of our structures and get the players back into shape after a well-deserved rest period.
“There’s a little over six months left before the international showpiece, and we need to make every minute count on and off the field to ensure that we achieve the goals we set out and peak at the right time.”
The Springboks will kick off the international season against Australia in Pretoria on Saturday, 8 July, in the opening round of the shortened Castle Lager Rugby Championship, which will be followed by clashes against New Zealand at the Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland a week later, and Argentina in Johannesburg on Saturday, 29 July – their final match on home soil for the year.
The Boks will then make the journey to Buenos Aires in August to take on the Pumas before facing Wales and the All Blacks in Rugby World Cup warm-up matches in Cardiff and London in the final build-up to the international showpiece in France.
South Africa will launch their Rugby World Cup title defence on Sunday, 10 September, against Scotland in Marseille, which will be followed by pool matches against Romania in Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland in Paris (23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (1 October).
The Rugby World Cup quarter-finals will be played on the weekend of 14/15 October, with the semi-finals on 20/21 October and the final on Saturday, 28 October.