The main aims of the camp, which wrapped up on Friday, were to get the players to switch into Test mode following their club and franchise commitments, and put the groundwork in place for the season, which will culminate in the Rugby World Cup in France.
The squad had five field training sessions and several off-field sessions since assembling in Durban on Tuesday night. The second training camp, which is also in Durban, will run from Monday 29 to Wednesday 31 May.
“This camp was invaluable in getting the coaches and players on the same page in terms of our structures and systems as we prepare for this important season,” said Nienaber.
“The message from the coaches from day one was that the players had to leave the camp knowing what we expect from them on and off the field in the next few months as we look to select our Rugby World Cup squad in August.
“We have another training camp in Durban in two weeks, which will feature a bigger squad as we welcome the DHL Stormers after the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final, and perhaps a few more Japanese players who have completed their club commitments.
“That camp will give us another opportunity to get the players into the swing of things before our Pretoria training camp in June.”
Nienaber added that they were delighted with the quality of the training sessions and how receptive the players were in the off-field sessions.
“We believe we have a fantastic base to work from,” he said.
“We also had the opportunity to assess the injured players and we’ll monitor their progress and rehabilitation closely in the next few months. All in all, we are in a good frame of mind as our first Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against Australia approaches.”
Looking further ahead, Nienaber revealed that the Springboks will have a Rugby World Cup training camp in Bastia, Corsica after their last warm-up fixture against New Zealand at Twickenham on Friday 25 August.
The Boks will be based on the mountainous island in the Mediterranean Sea south of France until Sunday 1 September, when they will travel to their base in Toulon for the RWC opener against Scotland on Saturday 10 September.
“The Corsica camp will be ideal for the players to adapt to the conditions in France while finetuning our preparations for our first World Cup game,” said Nienaber.
“We reaped the rewards of spending time in Japan before the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and hopefully this camp will be equally beneficial in getting the players used to the climate and culture in France.
“I’d like to thank the Executive Council of Corsica and the Corsica Rugby League for welcoming us for this important camp.”
The Boks will begin their preparations for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at a training camp in Pretoria from Monday 12 to Friday 30 June, with the team slotting into match mode the following week for their opening match against Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 8 July.
Nienaber’s charges will then depart for New Zealand for their second Test of the condensed version of the competition against the All Blacks at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland (15 July), before returning to South Africa for their closing match against Argentina in Johannesburg (29 July).
The Springboks will play three Rugby World Cup warm-up matches: against Argentina in Buenos Aires (Saturday, 5 August), Wales in Cardiff (Saturday, 19 August) and New Zealand in London (Friday, 25 August) respectively.
They will then make their way to France for the international extravaganza where they face Scotland in Marseille (Sunday, 10 September), Romania in Bordeaux (Sunday, 17 September), Ireland in Paris (Saturday, 23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (Sunday, 1 October) during the pool stages.