Salford Red Devils flew out to South Africa at the end of last week for an 18-day training camp as head coach Brian Noble attempts to create a winning formula for his newly assembled squad.
The Reds squad will be based at the High Performance Centre at Ingwenyama near Pretoria, which was originally constructed to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup and will provide the very best facilities.
Ingwenyama Conference and sports resort lies at high altitude in White River, Mpumalanga, a few kilometres from the Kruger National Park. The 65-hectare property comprises a hotel, conferencing facilities, FIFA accredited pitches and cricket fields, a high performance gym and a rehab centre.
Twelve months on from the uncertainty that surrounded Salford, club captain Martin Gleeson is relishing the challenge of the intense training camp that awaits.
“I am flying in training at the moment and really looking forward to the South Africa camp,” said Gleeson.
“It is an ideal time for us to really get to know and understand each other. We will be living in each other’s pockets on and off the field. Now is the time to build the team spirit and to establish the combinations that will prove so important to us all this season.
“All the players, old and new, are enjoying the new facilities at the club and the approach and attitude towards training is fantastic from everyone.”
During the camp the Red Devils’ staff will be working on physical preparation, team cohesion and some sessions with specialists who will help to create a mental toughness in the squad.
The camp has been co-ordinated by South Africa RL Administrator Chris Botes, and the Reds players will work with some of the South African Rugby League squad during their stay.
The Red Devils return to the UK on January 21 and will play two pre-season warm-up games – away at Leigh on January 24 and at Warrington on February 5 – before they open their Super League season against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 16 February.