South Africa: Boks' Welsh Wizard Laid a Foundation for RWC Glory


Springbok training sessions at Rugby World Cup 2019 were impressively structured and formatted. But often it wasn't Rassie Erasmus conducting the sessions, but the Boks' man in the shadows, Aled Walters.

Welshman Aled Walters, who is the Springboks' Head of Athletic Performance, generally runs training sessions. As the person in charge of the players' conditioning, training had to be structured to meet the team's fitness objectives first, while encompassing their game specific needs. Walters is a crucial bridge between marrying these two vital components of success.

Erasmus' game plan, which was based heavily on territory and set pieces, required athletes to be able to perform in certain ways. The wings had to be able to do repeat sprinting sessions, chasing kicks, while the forwards not only needed power, but agility to defend for long periods. Making tackles, getting back on their feet quickly and repeating the process over 80 minutes required less bulk but more aerobic capacity.

In the final, the Boks defended over 25 phases of England pressure on their goal line, without being fatigued to the point of conceding a try because someone wasn't where he needed to be in the defensive line.

That passage of play, which...

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