Springbok scrum coach Matt Proudfoot praised the intensity and focus of the squad in Port Elizabeth as they continue with preparations for next week’s Rugby Championship opening Test against Argentina.
Proudfoot and Bok vice-captain Siya Kolisi spoke to the media on Friday shortly after the group completed another impressive field training session at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Proudfoot said the coaching staff are pleased with the results and effort of the first training week, adding that the squad is already benefiting from spending an extra week together in camp.
“The players have been fantastic all week long during training, and the coaches are really proud of the way they have prepared and their excellent effort so far,” said Proudfoot.
“It is fantastic to see how well the players get along with each other, taking into account that they’ve just come out of a tough Super Rugby season, and makes it so rewarding to have an extra week to prepare,” according to the Boks’ scrum coach.
“We are well aware of the Pumas’ strong points and have done a lot of preparation,” he added. “We know they’ve had a lot of time to prepare and the nice thing for them is that their whole squad is together in Argentina.
“However, we must not be under the illusion that it’s the same side that played Super Rugby,” cautioned Proudfoot.
“They’re a total different side when they pull on that white-and-blue jersey – they put a lot of pride into that jersey, and also the way they play. The Pumas will be a formidable side, and we must prepare for a very tough contest.”
Flank Kolisi missed the first day of training on Tuesday because of an ankle niggle, but he was back at practice towards the end of the week.
“I was still doing rehab earlier in the week, but have since started with full-on training again with the boys,” said the loose forward.
He is delighted to be back in PE, the place where his rugby journey started.
“I must admit I am very excited to be back in my home town and looking forward to the rest of our preparations. I know how much the people of the Eastern Cape enjoy their rugby, and also appreciate the fact that the Boks are here for two weeks.”
On his appointment as Bok vice-captain, Kolisi said: “It is such a huge honour and privilege, and I am especially proud for my mate Eben (Etzebeth), who will captain the side.
“Personally, it’s a responsibility which I embrace, and I would like to believe that the extra responsibility will help to improve my game.”