Boks ready to tackle new laws
Springbok prop CJ van der Linde said upon the team’s arrival in Dublin on Sunday that an enlarged bench will add an extra dimension to the year-end tour.
Springbok prop CJ van der Linde said upon the team’s arrival in a cold and wet Dublin on Sunday afternoon that an enlarged bench will add an extra dimension to the year-end tour.
The Springboks will be required to field 23-man matchday squads featuring an entire back-up front row on their three-Test tour that kicks off against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
The rule has long been implemented in northern hemisphere competitions but it will be the first time that the Springboks are exposed to the rule at Test level.
Van der Linde said the rule is a positive adaptation that will eliminate uncontested scrums and add a new tactical dimension to the game.
“I think it brings a new dimension … there’s a whole front row [on the bench] … I don’t think there will be uncontested scrums any more so I think it brings a whole new dimension to the scrum and to front row play,” Van der Linde said.
“There’s four props now that can play so a tighthead can play like 60 minutes and the other guy can play 20 minutes so there’s more room for changes.”
The Springboks will also play under the new crouch, touch, set scrumming sequence on Saturday and Van der Linde admits it will be a fresh challenge.
“It’s something new we’ll have to get used to very quickly. I think it’s a small adjustment. It’s more of a mind switch to get used to the sequence and the calling so it will be more of a mental than physical change.”
The second most capped member of the touring squad, Van der Linde said it was good to be back in Dublin, where he played for Irish province Leinster for two seasons.
“There is a lot of Leinster players still in the Ireland set-up. I see the weather is still very much the same, but it’s a great city and it’s great to be back in Dublin,” Van der Linde said.
“We’re very excited about the forthcoming tour and we know it won’t be easy, but this provides further opportunity for us to grow as a squad, especially since we have blooded so many youngsters this season.”
Van der Linde said Ireland have made notable strides in recent years and he expects a stern challenge up front with former Springbok assistant coach Gert Smal serving as Ireland forwards coach.
“They’re a team that have evolved a lot over the past few years, they’re playing excellent rugby,” he said.
“With Leinster being so successful in the European Cup there’s a lot of their players coming through into the Ireland set-up and a guy like Gert Smal also being here for a while, so they’re playing well and have a good set-up here in Ireland.”
The squad of 27 players left South Africa on Saturday evening and after a stopover at Heathrow Airport in London, touched down in the Irish capital shortly after 13:00 on Sunday.
Ruan Pienaar, who played for Ulster on Friday night, drove down from Belfast and linked up with his team mates on Sunday, while the three other European-based players, Francois Louw, Schalk Brits and Gurthrö Steenkamp, will arrive in Dublin in the next 24-48 hours.