Davids opens up on De Villiers factor
SPOTLIGHT: South Africa have to brace themselves for a very tough scrummaging battle against Scotland, says Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids.
On the back of a hard-fought 23-18 win over Wales in Cardiff, the Springboks head to Edinburgh to face a very in-form Scotland squad.
Scotland recorded a nail-biting 15-13 win over Australia and will be out to take down another Southern Hemisphere side this weekend.
While Wales was a very difficult challenge – given the Springboks’ record in Cardiff – this weekend they face an even tougher opponent in the shape of Scotland, who boasts a significant South African contingent.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend’s squad features former Stormers prop Oliver Kebble, Sharks forward Dylan Richardson, former Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman, former Griquas utility back Kyle Steyn and South African-born wing Duhan van der Merwe – all born and schooled in South Africa.
There is also former Springbok assistant coach Pieter de Villiers, who is currently Scotland’s scrum coach.
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“Pieter de Villiers is a very good scrum coach,” Davids told reporters during the media briefing on Monday.
“I worked with him during two World Rugby Under-20 championship campaigns with the Junior Springboks and he understands the South African mentality.
“We’ve seen what he has achieved with the Scottish forwards, so they’ll select a technically good and competitive pack.
“That said, our focus is on what we’d like to achieve, and I have to commend Daan Human [Springbok scrum coach] for the work he’s been doing with our pack of forwards.
“We are obviously constantly striving to become better [in all the aspects of our forward play], and we are wary of the fact that the different playing conditions will also be a factor for us.
“This means we have to be tactically and technically sound this weekend to get the desired result.”
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Davids added: “We pride ourselves on our line-outs and scrums and we are satisfied with the outcomes in these areas, but there is work to do to improve on this.
“Having watched the match between Scotland and Australia, we know those will be tough areas of the game.”
Davids, however, predicts Scotland will bring a lot more to the field than just forward physicality.
“Their style of play involves keeping the ball in hand and they use the length of the field,” said Davids.
“And with this game plan having earned them success last weekend, we believe they’ll bring the same this weekend.
“Finn Russell [Scotland flyhalf] is a good player and he has experience around him, so they’ll ask a lot of questions during the game and we have to be ready for that.”