JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Lions coach Swys de Bruin has returned to his post with the South African Super Rugby side after treatment for stress and says he is “ready to go” in his role as attack coach for the Springboks at the World Cup in Japan later in the year.
De Bruin left the Lions’ Australasian tour four weeks ago and returned to South Africa on the advice of team doctor Rob Collins, but says he is ready to coach the side against the New South Wales Waratahs at Ellis Park on Saturday.
“I got professional help. It (stress) is something I realise does happen‚ if you don’t look after it. But I’m feeling so good,” an upbeat De Bruin told reporters on Thursday.
“I think in most cases you don’t see it coming. I take stuff to heart and I make stuff personal. It’s not something that happens over a day or two, but comes over a long period.
“To pinpoint particular stuff is not going to solve anything. For me it’s about how do I react when it happens. I’m getting professional help not to get over excited when things happen and I can’t control it.
“I didn’t realise I’m a control freak and if I can’t control stuff then it affects me. I’m learning how to control stuff now.”
De Bruin says he believes stress in the sport is far more widespread than is reported and many suffer in silence.
“It’s weird. Growing up‚ especially in this country‚ you are a bad guy when you can’t take a hammering and stress,” he said.
“I realised through this whole thing it happens to so many guys. I’m just thankful that I can sit here.”
De Bruin conceded that his treatment is on-going.
“I see professional help again next week and the week after. It is working already. I’ve been challenged twice this week. I applied one or two of the techniques and I’m feeling ready to go.”
De Bruin added that he had no plans to step down from his role under head coach Rassie Erasmus with the Boks and is looking forward to the World Cup.
“It is all fine with the Springboks. I’ll go to the World Cup as attack coach. We are all good to go,” he said.
The Lions have reached the last three Super Rugby finals, losing all, but have endured a mixed campaign in 2019, the second in charge for De Bruin since he took over from Johan Ackermann.
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)