Bok pack primed to land killer blow
SPOTLIGHT: Prop Frans Malherbe says the Springbok pack is getting better with each week they are together.
The Bok pack will once again take centre stage when they come up against the British and Irish Lions in the third Test on Saturday.
South Africa lost the first Test 17-22 before levelling the series with a convincing 27-9 win in the second Test.
Malherbe said the effort from the players and coaches to learn from one another was one of the main contributing factors to their improvement from the first to the second Tests in the series.
“We’ve grown a lot as a pack and credit to the back five, who have bought into our plan and who generates the power in the scrums,” said Malherbe.
“We are learning a lot from one another and working together to make the team better.
“When I came off the field on Saturday and saw the impact the forwards made off the bench, I was very satisfied.”
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Front row power
Malherbe will start at tighthead in the Bok front row alongside Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (loosehead) in Saturday’s series decider again. Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch will once again provide some impact off the bench.
There are two changes to the B&I Lions’ front row from last weekend’s match with injury-free Wyn Jones taking his place on the loosehead to make his Lions Test debut alongside Ken Owens, who is promoted from the bench to start his first Test of the Tour at hooker.
Tadhg Furlong continues on the tighthead to win his sixth-successive Test cap.
Commenting on the changes the Lions made in their front row, Malherbe said: “All the British & Irish Lions props are world class players, but we have to focus on ourselves and our preparation and ensure that we are 100 percent ready for the weekend.
“If you look at the impact the bench made last week, we are all on the same level, so even though they may have made changes, it doesn’t change much in our preparation.”
Malherbe spoke highly of the influence the Bok coaching unit has had on the strong cohesion within the team.
“As a coaching team everyone has their department that they specialise in so there is a system in place, and all the players trust that system,” said Malherbe.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Daan [Human, Bok scrum coach] and Deon [Davids, Bok line-out coach] since they joined the team.
“Daan is very passionate about scrums and I love it when a coach gets everyone excited to scrum. Deon is equally passionate and his attention to detail in the lineouts is one of his main strengths.”
Additional source: SA Rugby