Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says he is impressed by the leadership capabilities displayed by captain Adriaan Strauss.
Strauss was named Springbok captain for the series against Ireland and will look to lead the team to a 2-1 series win in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Boks lost 26-20 in the first Test in Cape Town but rebounded to win last weekend’s Test 32-26 in Johannesburg.
The South Africans trailed 26-10 after 60 minutes at Ellis Park, before romping home in the final quarter.
According to Coetzee, Strauss played a “huge” role in helping galvanise the team to launch a comeback.
“People might look at Adriaan and they look at some other hookers who are contributing in broken play and they’re all over the field... but Adriaan is a typical set-piece type of hooker who will make sure that (area) functions,” Coetzee said in Port Elizabeth after naming his team on Thursday.
“And that is where Test rugby starts. If you look at the two games, we’ve had 16 lineouts in the first Test, we lost one. That’s almost 94%. In the second Test we had 14 lineouts, we missed one. That’s almost 94% again.
“So, in both Tests it showed his (Strauss’) value under pressure against a quality Irish lineout. I’m not comparing, but if you look at Rory Best (Ireland hooker and captain), he might be running around, he might be making huge tackles, but he’s currently sitting on a 70% success rate at lineout time.”
Coetzee also does not doubt Strauss’ leadership capabilities.
“It’s little things that maybe go unnoticed and that is what Adriaan brings to the team. And also his calm and collectedness when it comes to decision making. He’s got a great demeanour of handling everyone’s input.
“I’m really proud of Adriaan, the way he’s conducted and led the team. Not just on the field, but also off the field.”
Saturday’s Test at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is scheduled for 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart
Olding, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie
Heaslip, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3
Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (captain) 1 Jack McGrath
16 Sean Cronin, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ultan Dillane,
20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Morgan 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Matt Healy