Rugby Championship

Scrum woe: Ex-Bok props pipe up

2014-08-25 07:43
Gurthro Steenkamp (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Several retired Springbok front-rankers took to Twitter over the weekend to offer their varied takes on the national team’s scrummaging humiliation at the hands of Argentina in Salta.

As it happened: Argentina v SA

The Boks summoned last-ditch reserves of energy and grit to squeeze past the Pumas 33-31 in a Castle Rugby Championship nail-biter, although the violent way they back-pedalled in the scrums at times will be a lasting, unpleasant memory for the players and their fans alike.

One of the earliest post-isolation tighthead props, Keith Andrews (@KeithKandrews), who has been visiting Argentina, said in a salvo of tweets:“Bok forwards need to eat more ‘carne’ and less carrots! Oh dear, our scrums ... shocking Bok scrumming.  Where is the guts and will to compete and adapt?”

Former Sharks and Bok loosehead Ollie le Roux (@OllieLeRoux) was less than impressed with the team’s starting No 1 on Saturday, Gurthro Steenkamp, who was substituted in the 45th minute: “Gurthro is massive weakness in scrum.”

He added in another tweet, following another devastating Pumas heave: “And THAT people is called the Bajada! A thing of beauty! Pity Boks are on the receiving end ...”

World Cup 2007-winning captain and tighthead or hooker John Smit (@JohnSmit123) had some sympathy for the Boks’ plight, suggesting the Argentineans were testing the boundaries of legality:“I feel for our Bok tightheads, (Marcos) Ayerza with a short bind pulling them into the tunnel to create his angle.”

Meanwhile former Bok and WP/Stormers No 3 Cobus Visagie (@Drieman3) made a novel suggestion about how the Boks might enhance their options at tighthead - perhaps having noticed reserve Frans Malherbe hobble off late with an ankle injury that will reportedly rule him out of the remainder of the tournament.

Visagie said: “Without trying to be controversial, Brian Mujati is the best option. Played for the Boks before and has scrummed against the best.”

The 29-year-old Mujati earned 12 caps for the Springboks but his last was against England at Twickenham in late 2008.

Once of Northampton Saints but now based at Racing Metro, Mujati was later declared ineligible for South Africa as he was deemed not legally a SA citizen, so that option may still not be open to Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


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