CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - World champions New Zealand face a difficult battle to squeeze in time for recovery and preparation ahead of their last game in this year’s Rugby Championship against South Africa at Newlands on Saturday, hooker Dane Coles said.
The majority of the squad arrived on Monday after a long trip from Buenos Aires where they beat Argentina 36-10 on Saturday to secure the annual southern hemisphere competition’s title for the fifth time in six years.
“I think this is the toughest week we have but we are pretty lucky we’ve got a lot of guys who have done this trip before,” he told a news conference on Tuesday as the All Blacks rested at their team hotel ahead of Saturday’s test.
It takes three separate flights over more than 24 hours to get from the Argentine capital to Cape Town.
New Zealand have only had a regeneration session in the pool since and will probably not take to the practice field before Thursday, some 48 hours before the game.
“It’s a shorter week, we are not on the field that much and there are a lot more meetings and emphasis on recovery. But that’s a good challenge,” Coles said.
“We have shown in the past that we’ve done it really well and we must show that we can do it again this week. We must just make sure we do those little things right. Mentally, you have to get yourself in the right spot,” Coles added.
“We have got to be smart with the time we have,” added assistant coach Ian Foster.
“The overall process doesn’t change but we have an issue now with travel. You don’t have to be Einstein to know that this week is not so much about training hard. We’ve just got to make sure we are smart, get energy levels high, the brain adjusted and clear and do that knowing we can’t do a lot of on-field stuff,” Foster said.
Editing by Ed Osmond