Bok scrum 'shouldn't panic'

2011-07-05 07:30
Ollie le Roux (File)
Michael Green and Gerdie Karstens

Port Elizabeth and Kimberley - Former Springbok props Ollie le Roux and Willie Meyer do not believe there is any reason for the South African rugby team to panic about their scrummaging.

Their views come in the wake of the Crusaders' dominant scrumming performances - first against the Sharks at Twickenham earlier this year and then over the past two weekends against the Sharks and Stormers.

The Crusaders' powerful performances have prompted fears that the Boks could be on the receiving end of a mauling in the scrums by the Kiwis at the World Cup.

Crusaders props Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks, and hooker Corey Flynn are expected to form the backbone of the All Blacks' scrum and it's no wonder that there are concerns about the Boks' scrumming.

Sport24 spoke to Meyer and Le Roux about the issue. However, both are of the view that one should not overreact based on the Crusaders' scrumming.

"It should be remembered that the Stormers' pack is definitely not the Springboks' pack. However, it's a good wake-up call and definitely one that should be taken cognisance of," said Meyer.

"The Boks will be able to stand their ground against the Kiwis if the selectors pick the right players. I'm not sure whether the All Blacks' pack will differ much from the one that plays for the Crusaders."

According to Le Roux, i's a "completely different game at Test level and the scrum is only a starting point. There is nothing the Boks need to be worried about.

"However, the right players need to be picked and the players must be focused. And they have to do the scrum basics 100%."

Meyer said that it would be wise to take an experienced pack to the World Cup.

His locks would be Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, and the front row will be made up of Jannie du Plessis, John Smit and Beast Mtawarira.

"Bismarck du Plessis definitely has to be in the squad and could play a major role as impact player later in games," said Meyer.

Le Roux believes that CJ van der Linde has to be picked in the Bok team.

"Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis must be picked with him. We will need that strength in the scrums. We also have good locks like Danie Rossouw, Flip van der Merwe, Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield. The big problem is who should be omitted from which game."

Meyer and Le Roux are not too worried about former Bok prop Os du Randt no longer assisting Bok coach Peter de Villiers as scrum consultant.

"When you get to Test level there is not much more that you can learn about scrumming," said Meyer.

"I don't consider it a major problem that the Boks don't have a scrumming specialist. I do, however, believe that it's important for them to prepare thoroughly and that the pack's rhythm in the scrums is good."

Le Roux said that the Bok team "did not scrum that much better" when they were assisted by Du Randt.

"I know Rassie Erasmus well because I played under him for a long time. Together with Gary Gold (assistant coach) they will ensure that things run smoothly."


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