Connacht Academy fitness coach Antoine Mobian recently returned from South Africa where he spent three weeks with the Vodacom Bulls and Blue Bulls in Pretoria, the Stormers and the Western Province Institute in Cape Town and Stellenbosch and the Sharks and Sharks Academy in Durban.
Antoine Mobian, the Connacht Academy fitness coach, was there to observe the set-ups of the South African Super 14 professional teams and their academies.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to travel to South Africa and spend some time with world class teams to see how they operate,” he said.
“Having already seen the organisation of various clubs in Europe I was very curious to see first-hand how rugby is structured in the southern Hemisphere.”
The academies Antoine visited have an average training group of 150 players aged from 18 to 21.
This large number of players, coupled with an appropriate number of qualified personnel and great facilities particularly at the Bulls, creates a well structured set-up.
South African rugby has a number of professional competitions to offer such as the Currie Cup and Super 14 which has a parallel reserve competition named Vodacom Cup.
Antoine attended three Super 14 games during his visit in three separate stadiums each having a capacity of 50-60.000 seats.
“It was a great trip, I received a warm welcome for everyone and it was interesting to speak with other fitness coaches.
“Although they have a different structure and certainly the weather makes a difference, I did notice that we do a lot of similar training methods and coaching techniques.”
Antoine added that any of the South African academies were welcome to the Sportsground to play a game against the Connacht Academy side for a rematch of the 2007 Connacht v South Africa friendly.