Rugby Championship

Boks to have upper hand in scrums?

2014-09-23 05:00
Pieter de Villiers and Louis Koen (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South Africa's scrum consultant Pieter de Villiers says the Springboks could have the upper hand at scrum time against the Wallabies in Saturday's Rugby Championship Test at Newlands.

"If we apply our systems right, and we play as a unit, we should have the upper hand," De Villiers said in Cape Town on Monday.

"We have revisited some of our basics, which is something we did not always manage well, especially against Argentina.

"We have looked at a number of things, such as our height on engagement."

De Villiers believed the Boks could now be relied on at scrum time.

"We have scrummed well for two years and the difficulties we have had in two games against Argentina does not make us bad in the scrum," he said.

"There have been difficulties in terms of the set-up and this is something that referees must manage.

"Some teams prefer to set up with shoulders touching, while others prefer to go ear to ear, which is what the law states.

Referees have many things to look at and managing the scrum was always "difficult", more so because of frequent law changes, he said.

"Refereeing the scrums has always been difficult and as much as the laws have changed, it still remains difficult," De Villiers said.

"There is so much to look at and the referee cannot see everything."

De Villiers said he coached the Boks to help the match officials by sticking to the rules.

"It's easier when all three front-rowers dominate, but the moment one of them does not, it becomes a problem (for the referee)," he said.

"When that happens, mistakes can also happen. We have also tried to identify the grey areas."

De Villiers said the Australian scrums had shown improvement during the season and he expected a strong challenge from their pack.

"They have reacted with speed (to improve) at the set-piece which has become so important.

"They fared well against Argentina last weekend."

De Villiers said the Bok front-rowers were expected to show their mettle in other facets of the game.

"We expect the front-row players to play other roles as well and not make mistakes on defence.

"We know one missed tackle can easily be converted to seven points."

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