Tue 27 Jul 2021 | 12:38

Kitshoff defends Bomb squad's misfire

Steven Kitshoff talks about the Springboks' scrum issues in the first Test
Tue 27 Jul 2021 | 12:38
Kitshoff defends Bomb squad's misfire
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Scrummaging on the Cape Town Stadium pitch is extremely ‘difficult’, according to Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff.

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Forward dominance is one of the primary weapons when it comes to the Springboks’ attack.

The South Africans’ powerful scrums helped them claim the 2019 World Cup trophy.

However, following the 17-22 LOSS to the British and Irish Lions this past Saturday, South Africa’s main weapon has come under scrutiny.

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The Boks also struggled with discipline and came second in the aerial battle, but the most noticeable flaw was the scrums – especially in the second half.

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The starting front row of Retshegofaditswe Nche, Mbongeni Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane produced a very impressive performance – Nche particular outstanding with his carries.

Employing the ‘Bomb squad’ tactic, the entire front row were all replaced at the break by Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe.

But the tactic did not work against the Lions with replacements not having the anticipated impact.

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Speaking to reporters in a virtual media briefing, Kitshoff said that scrumming at Cape Town Stadium was difficult – with the turf tearing up under the weight of the packs following a wet week in the build-up to the Test.

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“The field does cut up a lot and it is difficult to use your feet or ‘plant’ them when there is some pressure coming,” Kitshoff said.

“When the turf gives way, it becomes very slippery.

“We are working on ways to prevent that happening.

“Having all eight guys with their studs in the ground helps a lot.”

Kitshoff also said the South African front row struggled to adapt to how quickly Australian referee Nic Berry called for the ball to be taken out of the scrums.

“There were calls of ‘use it’ when Frans and I felt like we had a bit of go-forward or started to feel the cracks and then the call came from the ref.

“I understand the referee does not want resets so it is part of the game and we just have to find solutions to get that go-forward a bit quicker.”

The second Test is scheduled for this Saturday and the third for August 7 with both matches to be played behind closed doors in Cape Town because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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