Bok captain Whiteley not being 'blindsided'

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:38

IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: There is nothing sinister about the Springboks moving their captain and No.8 Warren Whiteley to blindside flank at scrum time.

There has been a lot of uninformed speculation about why Whiteley has packed down on the flank during the first two Tests against France - which produced a 37-14 win in Pretoria and a 37-15 victory in Durban.

Bok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot - speaking ahead of the third and final showdown of the June series, at Ellis Park this coming Saturday - said the decision to pack down Whiteley at blindside (with Teboho Mohoje and Jean-Luc du Preez scrumming at No.8) was nothing more than a a "tactical" move.

"It is not about the scrum, but more around [the Boks'] defensive alignment," Proudfoot told  media briefing at the team's base in Johannesburg.

"We position our No.8 on the blindside, [so] he could be involved in kick-chases and falling back [on defence].

"We want our traditional openside flank [No.6] and the guy [playing] at No.8 chasing the ball.

"So our No.6 and No.7 would chase the ball and our No.8 would be able to fall back."

The Bok assistant coach dismissed what he called "a lot of brouhaha" about the move and said the players are comfortable with their respective roles.

"Jean-Luc [du Preez] has played No.8 at age-group level and we have done a lot of work with him there," Proudfoot said, adding: "Warren is capable of doing it [playing at blindside]..

"These guys are highly skilled forwards."

Proudfoot said the French will again 'attack' the Bok pack, because their "philosophy" is always the same - to have "a dominant platform", be that maul time, line-out time or scrum time.

"They are a proud side and in the Six Nations there were a couple of matches they were unlucky not to come away with a win," the Bok scrum expert said.

"They were very forceful and that is what we are expecting.

"I spoke to Stephen [Kitshoff], coming back from France, about his up-skill and technical knowledge - because that is what their focus is in the Northern Hemisphere.

"We know that up front we have to be on top of our game to be successful."

By Jan de Koning, in Johannesburg
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