SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus conveyed the message to coaches and referees alike on the eve of a new season after the issues raised at the end of the recently concluded 2020-21 campaign.

‘We are certainly not blaming anyone for what happened and we know there were many mitigating factors as we tried to resurrect the local game in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic,’ said Erasmus.

‘It just wasn’t a high-performance environment. There was lack of proper training time, certain law directives which increased the penalty count and slowed play while the weather conditions were far from ideal.

‘But we’ve done our research and made a few plans that will hopefully enhance the game that people will see on their TV screens.

‘We have a big year looming and apart from hopefully delivering better rugby matches, we have to prepare our top players for Tests and entry into exciting new competitions in Europe. By creating more action on the field and less “ball out of play”, it will also help to increase the conditioning and fitness of our players.’

The first implemented change is a 10-day turnaround between matches to ensure better prepared teams and conditioned players. This was done with Covid-19 testing protocols taken into consideration.