Boks have their set piece and little else

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 15:34
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Despite the Springboks' dismal performance against England, forwards coach Johann van Graan believes their set-piece play was the shining light on a gloomy day.

The 21-37 loss to England was the Springboks seventh defeat this year and they will be desperate for a morale-boosting win against Italy, who were thrashed 10-68 by the All Blacks in their last match.

"I thought our set piece was very good against England," Van Graan told reporters in Florence.

"That is something we pride ourselves on and I think that has been the case all year. All credit to the pack - I thought that was the best scrum performance against England over the past five years. 

"We got 100 percent positive results out of our scrums. In terms of our line-out play, I think we surprised them with a few things that we did. The line-outs is a big weapon of ours and we are going to use it again this coming weekend."

Van Graan believes the Springboks and Italy have similar game plans.

"They [Italy] pose quite a different threat to England. 

"They don't play as much rugby; they use a long kicking game they try and pin you in your half. 

"They got a very good scrum, which they try and get penalties from a lot and they are a very good leg tackling side. We faced a lot of upper body battles last weekend [against England]."

South African-born lock Andries van Schalkwyk will start for Italy in Saturday's match against the Boks and he is a player that Van Graan has coached in the past.

"Yes I did [coach him], when I was at the Bulls," Van Graan added.

"I watched Andries [Van Schalkwyk] play at Boland. He was one of the guys on my radar back then. 

"He came to the Bulls and he is a very gifted player. He did not play there [Blue Bulls] for a very long time. 

"He does understand the line-out. He runs some pretty good lines and he is a natural rugby play."