Bok scrum to get 'technical'
INTERVIEW: South Africa's pride has been dented and the Springboks are going all out to restore their reputation as a fearsome scrummaging unit.
South Africa's pride has been dented and the Springboks are going all out to restore their reputation as a fearsome scrummaging unit.
Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan confirmed on Tuesday that the set pieces, in particular the scrums, will remain a point of focus - as the Boks prepare for their Rugby Championship Round Three encounter with Australia in Perth on Saturday.
Following the drubbing their scrum took at the hands of Argentina, especially in their last outing in Salta, the Boks have worked on their scrumming technique at almost ever training session since the team regathered in Johannesburg last Thursday.
And it is not going to change as the South African tourists' build-up to Saturday's encounter with the Wallabies gather momentum.
"We will again look at our scrummaging," Van Graan told a media gathering at the team's training base in Perth.
"We will scrum this [Tuesday] afternoon and tomorrow [Wednesday] afternoon - hopefully it will go well on Saturday."
The Bok assistant said that there will be no 'live' scrums this week, unlike their sessions in Johannesburg.
"[We will work] more on technical stuff," he said, adding: "We put in the hard yards last week and this week it will all be about the unity of the pack - the front rows, the back five, especially our positioning of the feet, the binding and the space between the front rows."
Van Graan also dismissed the notion that the Wallaby pack is 'soft touch', given the way they were overpowered by the All Blacks in a 20-51 loss in Auckland in their last outing.
"We have a lot of respect for the Wallabies,"he said.
"Throughout Super Rugby their players showed what kind and quality of rugby they can play.
"Earlier this year [in June] against the French pack they played some brilliant rugby. In Sydney in that 12-all draw [in Round One] it was a big clash between two very good packs and even in Auckland [a 20-51 loss in Round Two] I felt they played some very good rugby.
"[There is] no [such thing as a] soft Wallaby pack and we are looking forward to a big Test between two of the top nations in the world."
While the Bok scrum was under the spotlight after their struggles against the powerful Pumas, the Wallabies have been criticised for their inability to deal adequately with the All Black maul in their last outing.
However, Van Graan said it would not be a case of 'targeting' the Aussies in that department.
"The maul is [always] a big part of the South African game," he said, adding: "Definitely if there is an opportunity we will maul, but it is not because of what happened in Auckland.
"If you look at those mauls in Auckland very closely, you will see that New Zealand put quite a few backs into their mauls and it might have caught Australia off-guard, as they did something different.
"That was different game and is in the past.
"We are just going to focus on our maul and the way we play."