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Yes the Boks are well paid, and yes they get to enjoy an incredible lifestyle while representing their country in a sport that is not just a big part of life here in SA, but rather a WAY of life …

But have you ever stopped and thought about what it must be like to live in a team environment for close on 11 months of the year? What happens if you don’t like the oke who is continually selected to play alongside you in the front row? What about having to live with guys who continually only speak a language you barely passed in matric?

And what about having to share a hotel room? I am an 04h41 riser no matter the day, and no matter what went down the night before … But in order to try and compensate, I am more often than not in dreamland come 22h00 … So what if my toom mate wants to watch a movie on TV in the room till midnight? And what do I do in the morning till he wakes up at 07h30?

This continually leaving in a team environment is not for the faint of heart, and is perhaps the single biggest thing that coaches and team management try to manage. Balancing that need for time to oneself to doing cool stuff together so as to build “Gees” …

Which is why we need to doff our caps to Tsogo Sun for the team room they have developed for the Boks and other teams that use the Cullinan hotel …

Sponsors are vital to the modern game, but my absolute worst is being asked to call a team the XXX Team or a stadium the XXX Stadium … Do they really think that is going to get me to buy their product? Horse manure … Branding is one thing, but naming rights? It makes me want to vomit!

But when a sponsor like Tsogo Sun goes out of their way to not only help the national side, but also leverage their association with the Boks, then they deserve due credit …

As said – accommodating the needs and wants of the modern day sports star is a challenge, but Tsogo Sun’s Southern Sun The Cullinan, has risen to the occasion by converting a restaurant area into the bespoke Cullinan Team Room.

The Team Room – located next to the new Cullinan Fitness Centre, is a single venue that encompasses all sports team requirements like meeting, dining, physio, leisure areas, storage and security. State-of-the-art computers with high speed internet access and high tech teleconferencing facilities fit nicely with the 46-inch HD televisions and ceiling mounted, high resolution data projectors to aid in pre-match preparation and post-match analysis.

The Team Room’s dining area is equipped with temperature controlled hot and cold serving facilities, as well as high speed blenders, toaster and my best – a sandwich press to cater for in-between-meal snacks, special protein shakes and smoothies.

Down time can be spent playing pool, foosball, Nintendo Wii or board games. There is also a dedicated physio area, including a massage plinth, whilst a balcony provides for outside access with braai facilities.

Source: Front Row Grunt – Tank