Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has backed Julian Redelinghuys to replace the injured Frans Malherbe at tighthead prop for their Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on Saturday.
South Africa start their tournament at the Mbombela Stadium against an opponent who beat them on home soil last year for the first time in history.
"Julian is quite a humble guy, but I can that I’m really happy with his progress," Coetzee said at a press conference on Monday.
"He does his primary job really well at scrum time, but his work rate for a tighthead prop is also so good. That’s the difference between an average player and a very good one. He’s extremely hard working, has great timing when running onto the ball and boasts a very good skill set. Julian’s done very well and this will be a great opportunity for him to get a start."
The Bok coach acknowledged he was happy with his team's scrumming performance in the June Tests against Ireland after identifying only one scrum that didn't go so well.
"We know that Argentina will look to get dominance in that area, and then that allows the free flowing stuff to start from there. We are under no illusions that we need to establish set piece dominance and gainline ascendancy. We were pleased with the scrums [against Ireland], especially on our ball, but there were times we were caught on the hop a bit on our defensive scrum. So it is an area we will continue to work on."
Redelinghuys has played off the bench five time already, but said he was relishing the challenge of scrumming against the highly rated Pumas scrum.
"It’s one area they [Argentina] always focus on heavily, they love their scrum and it’s where they pose a massive threat. But we need to focus on what we need to do, and to ensure we’re prepared for a massive challenge. It’s something we want to embrace and enjoy," Redelinghuys said.
"We know that if Argentina get ahead at scrum time, they will take a real positive energy out of it, and it needs to be the same for us. The scrum is definitely one part of the game where we can gain confidence and energy, but it’s a key aspect of the game where we do back ourselves."
The Springboks will announce their team on Thursday.