Nienaber said he was satisfied with the step-up made by the players from the first week of the camp to the second, although he admitted earlier this week that they had to be creative at training with a limited group of players able, which has seen several players slot into unfamiliar positions.
“One could see the difference in the quality and intensity of our training sessions this week, so we are pleased with the strides made,” said Nienaber.
“The players are grasping what we would like to see in terms of the detail in our patterns and systems, and that is very encouraging for us with our opening Test against Wales in two weeks.
“The guys have been working hard on and off the field and it was great to see their keenness to help out in positions where needed, so that we could get the best out of our training sessions.”
Nienaber was excited to welcome back a number of DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls players next week following Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town, and said they were ready to move up a gear in their preparations for what will be a tough series against Wales with more players in camp.
A group of 13 players are expected join the squad from the two Vodacom URC finalists, including a few experienced players such as Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe (both props), as well as several uncapped players including Salmaan Moerat, Ruan Nortje (both locks), Evan Roos, Elrigh Louw (both loose forwards), and Kurt-Lee Arendse (utility back).
The squad will be back at full capacity as they enter the first Test week in two weeks’ time as a number of overseas-based players return to international duty.
“We are looking forward to welcoming a number of players from the DHL Stormers and Vodacom Bulls next week, and we believe it will add a new dimension to the squad in terms of having several experienced players back as well as some new players at camp,” said Nienaber.
“We are very excited to have two teams contest the Vodacom URC final and knowing that one of them will be crowned the champions is fantastic. The experience the players will gain from playing in a final will bode well for them as individuals, and for us as a national squad, and I’d like to wish all of them good luck for the final.
“They will also enter the camp match fit and in a good space from a confidence perspective, so we are looking forward to returning to the training field after a good break this weekend and we believe we will take things up a notch with an eye on the Wales Tests. So, there is a lot to look forward to.”