Nienaber draws parallels between England and SA
SPOTLIGHT: There are “a lot of similarities” between England’s scrum and South Africa’s scrum, according to Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber.
The Springboks head into their final tour match against England after wins against Wales [23-18] and Scotland [30-15]. It was the South Africans’ powerful performances in the scrums that laid the platform for those successes.
The Boks will again lean on their front rows to give them an edge against England on Saturday.
But Nienaber believes England will give them a much sterner test in that area of the game.
“I know a lot of people are talking about South Africa’s scrum and ‘bomb squad’,” said Nienaber. “However, in my analysis that I have done on England in the last month of rugby, they had 21 scrums to exit from and to attack from and they got 14 penalties out of that.
“I think there is a lot of similarities between us and them.
“If you look at what they did against Australia, they had four scrums and they got three penalties. That is a 75 percent conversion rate in terms of getting penalties.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for our forwards.
“We surely must keep our feet on the ground because if you just look at the numbers England are pushing out in terms of their scrum performance then they are quite formidable.”
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England will be without some key players in the form of Owen Farrell and Jamie George, but Nienaber believes they still got a good mix of experience and youth to put up a big fight.
“That just shows the class of England. Although some will say there is some youth in the squad, the majority of the team consists of some old hands,” Nienaber added.
“Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, [Tom] Curry, [Sam] Underhill and [Courtney] Lawes played in the World Cup Final, so they are an experienced team.
“They know what they have to do to get results.
“There is some youth, but the core of the team is the team that beat New Zealand in the [World Cup] semifinal and played against us in the Final.”