WELLINGTON, New Zealand - The Springbok forwards are relishing the chance to test themselves against the highly-fancied All Blacks pack when the two teams meet in their Rugby Championship clash on Saturday in Wellington, according to South African assistant coach Matt Proudfoot.
The Springboks lost their two previous Test matches, against the Pumas and the Wallabies, and on Saturday they face the number one-ranked side in the world. Proudfoot reckons it is the ultimate test for any pack of forwards to face New Zealand.
“I think a game between South Africa and New Zealand boils down to getting your basics right. So (therefore) set-phase and the breakdown are two crucial areas for us because they have a fantastic scrum, they put your lineout under pressure and attack the gain-line,” said Proudfoot.
The Springboks managed to improve their scrum performance especially in the second half of their Wallabies clash in Brisbane, and Proudfoot explains that the SA pack will be up for the big challenge against their traditional rivals.
“We have the mentality that we’re looking to improve each week and as a pack we are relishing the opportunity to come out and show what we can do.” Regarding the two teams’ contrasting playing styles, Proudfoot said: “That’s one of the aspects which makes a fixture between these rugby rivals such an interesting affair.
“We are going to play to our strengths and they will continue to play to their strengths. They have a particular style and we have our own style, and you’re not going to change the things what you’ve been doing for the past six weeks in the week before an All Blacks Test.”
Instead, the focus of the Springboks will be to improve the execution of their game, increase their accuracy and to finish off the many chances which the players are creating, he indicated.
Meanwhile, the South Africans continued with their preparations under clear skies but crisp conditions at the Jerry Collins Stadium, Porirua Park, on the outskirts of Wellington. The squad will be announced on Thursday and the team wrap up preparations on Friday with the captain’s run at the Westpac Stadium.
African News Agency (ANA)