JOHANNESBURG – Consistency and execution are words that have been loosely thrown about in getting the Springboks Rugby Championship campaign back on track.
But it is bringing back their biggest weapon, physicality, that could be the undoing of Australia ahead of their encounter in Brisbane on Saturday according to Springbok assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot.
It was glaringly obvious in their shock defeat against Argentina in Mendoza last week that the South Africans lacked in consistency and execution as they were easily ruffled by the South Americans but it was ineffectiveness of using their fiery brawn that ultimately led to their demise.
In what was a complete turnaround from the manner in which the Springboks had used their brute force to rumble over the Pumas the week before in Durban, the inability of the men in Green and Gold to get anything right on the day in Mendoza seemingly watered the seed of doubt in their physical attributes.
“A big focal point for us is to bounce back from the loss last week in Mendoza is that we are looking to get more consistency out of the team to play with the same physicality we did in Durban and to repeat that performance,” said Proudfoot from Brisbane.
And while the Springboks will be expected to show drastic improvements across all facets of play, it will be in winning the brutal toe-to-toe war that could be the key to delivering them victory.
“Execution across the board whether be it set phase, breakdown or defence, continuity wasn’t as good as it was in Durban. We are looking at getting the execution better of all our skills not just certain areas but across the board our execution needs to improve," Proudfoot added.
"We know that the Argentineans were more in our face than they were in Durban and we must expect the same from the Australians who are looking to bounce back. We are expecting them to be in our face so we need to prepare under pressure and with the same intensity that we expect the game to be on Saturday."
But the Springboks won’t have it all their way as the Wallabies also bare grisly scars from their recent drubbings at the hands of the near invincible All Blacks and will be looking at getting their first win after two failed attempts in the competition.
“Two teams looking to bounce back. A lot of people speak about the Australian performances and I don’t think you get defined by your performances against New Zealand. I think this game for both sides is going to be crucial. It will be crucial to see how they respond and it will be a tight game on the advantage line for the two sides,” added Proudfoot.
The Springboks, though, will have to add another dimension to their play over and above brute strength and the need to bash the Wallabies in, and that is where Toulouse back Cheslin Kolbe could be thrust to the fore and make his long awaited international debut.
“What an exciting player with Cheslin in the side. He really deserves his inclusion, he’s really performed well. An exciting player he can create out of nothing and we are looking for extra zip and he’s just a solid guy. I’ve worked with him at the Stormers and it’s good to have him here,” said Proudfoot.