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'They try to break you apart': Proudfoot opens up on plan for Boks

SPOTLIGHT: England forward coach Matt Proudfoot has opened up on the “mindset challenge” his team will face in the scrums against the Springboks.


The two teams will both be looking to end the November series on a high at Twickenham after inconsistent campaigns so far.

After losses to Ireland and France, the Springboks bounced back to demolish Italy in Genoa last weekend. England started their campaign with a loss to Argentina before beating Japan and then recording a 25-25 draw with the All Blacks.

Proudfoot, who was part of the Boks’ coaching team when they won the World Cup in 2019, is expecting the Boks to be more brutal than the All Blacks when it comes to the scrums.

“The Springboks are a different challenge from the All Blacks, who are a crafty side,” said Proudfoot.

“The Springboks have a big, heavy engagement. So, it is about that set-up and the stability.

“It is about scrummaging as eight against them. Where the All Blacks try to fracture you, South Africa try to break you apart.


“Your focus will be in different areas,” he added. “There were one or two things we wanted to understand better from the New Zealand game and focus on for the Springbok challenge. This Test will be about the heavy engagement.

“The Springboks have a different philosophy. Their philosophy is that they come at you, look for a weakness and then put all their power into exploiting that weakness. It’s about the whole eight of us doing exactly the same thing. That’s the challenge this week.

“It will be less technical and more of a mindset challenge. It’s not a technical battle — it’s a battle of intent and will and it’s about all eight of us.”

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Meanwhile, Rassie Erasmus has been dominating the headlines with his latest ban from World Rugby and Proudfoot was asked for his opinion on the whole matter.

“I think that’s for people to make their own decisions,” said Proudfoot.

“My view’s my view, that’s a personal view that I hold and I don’t think it’s for this forum, for me to discuss personal view on other people’s behaviour.

“When I lived in South Africa I was a proud South Africa supporter, and I think that’s what the brand of the Springbok means, and that’s what it should be.”

While Erasmus has had some issues with the refereeing, Proudfoot believes his team has a good relationship with World Rugby when it comes to communicating certain issues,

“We have a very clear line of communication to [Head of Match Officials] Joel Jutge,” said Proudfoot. “We sent him clips after the game on Sunday night and he replied to me first thing Monday morning.

“We sent him more clips today and I’m expecting further responses.

“There’s a clear line of communication if you want to deal with something that you want clarification on and particularly in a week that you can give it to your players and train it.

“World Rugby has been great in the way it has communicated to us. We’ve got a process that we follow.

“It’s really constructive. It’s productive for us because we get the right information and we can utilise that information.

“For us it’s about affecting decisions on the field by exhibiting the right behaviours and if we don’t get that from World Rugby then, there are a lot of interpretations so we’d rather get the right interpretation and that’s why we follow the process.”

Sources: Daily Mail & Evening Standard

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