VIDEO: Boks to make 'smart' selections
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The Springbok coaching staff will have to make some astute selection choices when they name the team to face the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
New Zealand, still smarting from their 34-36 loss to South Africa in Wellington last month, are determined to avenge the loss on home soil.
It was their performance in the scrums – in the 35-17 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires at the weekend – that made the South Africans sit up and take note.
The All Blacks toyed with and embarrassed the Los Pumas scrum and Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot acknowledged that the set-piece battle will be crucial at a sell-out Loftus.
Proudfoot said dominance on their own ball has been a big focus for the Boks this week.
“If you look at how the Argentineans struggled at scrum time against the New Zealanders, we will have to be very smart about our selection at tighthead,” he said their sections this week.
Vincent Koch – who joined the squad last week, but did not feature in the Port Elizabeth Test against Australia – Frans Malherbe
and Wilco Louw will be in the selection frame.
Trevor Nyakane, still working hard to get his fitness up to par, may be short of game time for such a big encounter.
Proudfoot said they have learnt a lot about how the All Blacks attack scrums.
“They come with a late shove, come from different angles,” he said, adding that the players working as a unit to improve and are learning from each other.
“I have been really pleased as a coach to see the amount of work the props and hookers are doing with each other, to upskill each other.
“That is the way they get better. I am there to create an environment in which they can learn and that has impressed me, to see how much ownership the front row group has taken.”
He said what he wants from his forwards is to ‘solve the problems out on the filed’ when the heat is on.
“We know the All Blacks pose a very big threat at scrum time. They are a fantastic scrumming unit.
“However, if you look at the last two games [against New Zealand and Australia] you can see how the Springbok pack has evolved – especially the scrums.
“I have to give the players the credit, they are driving it.
“They are coming up with plans, they are coming up with improvement.
“We know the enormity of the challenge against the All Black scrum.”