Although the immediate future in terms of fixtures is still unclear, the Springbok Women still have the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand to prepare for.
This year, the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup – scheduled to take place between May and July – and a proposed year-end tour form a vital part of the Springbok Women’s preparations and if these go ahead as planned, Raubenheimer is determined to leave no stone unturned to ensure that his charges show an improvement in their performances on the international stage.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already had an effect on his preparations, with their April training camp postponed, and Raubenheimer said it has certainly had an impact on the players’ training programmes, especially with their restricted cardio training due to being in lockdown, and the players being unable to train at gyms.
But despite this, Raubenheimer remained positive and said this would serve as a good character test for the players.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in us going back to the way things functioned in the past in a sense as the players have to do a lot of work on their own,” said Raubenheimer.
“We tried to introduce more training camps this year so that we can work directly with the players on a regular basis and monitor their progress, but obviously a few things have changed with the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our April training camp has already been postponed and depending on what transpires in the next few weeks with regard to the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup (set to kick off on Saturday 30 May), we may have to alter our plans further.
“The main challenge has been the players’ training because we have had to adapt their programmes and while all these changes are challenging, especially for the players to reach our set training targets, it will serve as a good test to see how determined they are to be in the team and to play in the Rugby World Cup.”
Just as the players have been ticking their training boxes to deliver on the coach’s expectations when they assemble next, Raubenheimer has been keeping his finger on the pulse in terms of planning and analysis.
“Another big goal this season is to get a few injured players through their rehabilitation programmes and back on the field,” said Raubenheimer.
“Our regular captain, Nolusindiso Booi (lock) and Asithandile Ntoyanto (prop), both suffered serious injuries in the last year and this extra time to work on rehabilitation will certainly do them well.”
In terms of his own training, Raubenheimer – who is an avid cyclist and enjoys working out at the gym – has also had to tweak his training programme.
“My wife and I decided that we would start a home-based training programme and we managed to get that underway last Monday,” he said. “It mainly involves skipping, sit-ups, push-ups and other body-weight exercises, so we will continue with that throughout the lockdown to keep fit.”