Schalk Ferreira battle-ready for front-row duel

2019-01-31 13:31
Schalk Ferreira (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Southern Kings prop Schalk Ferreira will be playing in his 30th PRO14 match should he get selected in the team that will take on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The 34-year-old front-rower is the most capped Southern Kings player in the team’s record books, being the longest-serving player since 2013 where he has amassed 63 caps in total - the most by any player at the franchise.

Ferreira is the side’s third-most capped player in the PRO14 championship behind wing Yaw Penxe, who has had 31 starts, and centre Berton Klaasen, who has made 27 starts and has four matches off the bench.

Despite his age, Ferreira is known as one of the hardest workers in the team. His leadership has proved to be an invaluable asset to a largely young Southern Kings side, and his experience - having played Super Rugby for a decade and experience in the French Top 14 league for Toulouse - makes him a boon in the Port Elizabeth-based side.

“I work hard on my own fitness. I work on things that I can control - my fitness I can control, my work rate and my effort are the things I can control. You see props going on until the age of 40, especially in the northern hemisphere,” Ferreira said on the positive contributions he makes each week.

“So I am pushing myself - making the tackles, doing the basics right and trying to be a leader in the team in doing that. There is no better leader than a leader that leads by example - you have to be in the front line.”

An area where Ferreira’s expertise is most need in the team is in the set pieces - something the Southern Kings continue to work hard to improve.

The side has a few times been criticised on their scrums. While Ferreira admits to often coming short of their targets at scrum time, he acknowledges the strides the team is making with a relatively young from row which has often been affected by injury this season.

“You don’t build a good scrum overnight - it takes a lot of structure, understanding and time. We will not use the excuse of having a lot of our front row players being injured. We are working on our systems, we are laying the ground level for something to come,” the prop said.

“I think there is a steady incline. I know there has been some criticism, but we have been making progress. We believe in (scrum consultant) Rob Kempson and what he has put in as our scrum coach, but it will take time.

“One can always work on their own personal technique, but you don’t lose the scrum as an individual, you lose it as an eight-man pack. That has been our focus - to work harder as an eight-man pack, not just the front row or just the locks, but an all-eight effort.”

Ferreira conceded that the Cheetahs - with the likes of Ox Nche in their arsenal - are one of the strongest scrummagers in the PRO14 competition.

The veteran threw the gauntlet down, indicating that his team-mates would be up to scrum challenge when the Southern Kings and Cheetahs face off this weekend.

“We take criticism well - numbers don’t lie, we know we have often drawn the short straw. But we saw a step up from that first game against the Cheetahs to last weekend’s game. We will make an even bigger step up in this upcoming game,” he said.

“They have been coached by one of the best scrum coaches in Daan Human - he is top notch. He has been working with that pack for ages. They have an experienced front row, but I think we are making leaps with our own progress as well. We, by no means, believe that at this weekend’s game we will play second fiddle (to the Cheetahs scrum).”

While the Southern Kings lost Rossouw de Klerk to another shoulder injury, the side has been bolstered this week by the arrival of experienced prop, De-Jay Terblanche, who is on loan from the Pumas.

The battle between the two South African sides will take place at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein.

Kick-off is at 16:00 on Saturday.


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