Cardiff - Richie Gray’s knowledge of rugby as it is played in the United Kingdom will be a massive help to the Springboks on their forthcoming three match tour, according to the touring team’s breakdown specialist, Francois Louw.
According to the supersport.com website, the former Western Province and Stormers flanker campaigns in the northern hemisphere these days, and reckons the move to England club Bath has equipped him with breakdown skills he may not otherwise have had.
"He brings different philosophies to what we are used to in the approach to the breakdown and as a Scot he is very tuned into the way the guys over here approach that aspect of the game.
"What has been a big help I think for most of the guys in the Bok squad is the perspective he has brought into the way they play over here.
Gray was added to the Bok group as an assistant specialising in breakdown skills by coach Heyneke Meyer shortly before the first Rugby Championship match against Argentina in Johannesburg in August.
"The breakdown is more of a contest over here, and it is allowed to be, particularly in the Premiership, where teams like to counter-ruck.
"The breakdown is always a massive element as if you don’t go well there it robs you of any kind of platform to work off on attack.
"I thought we started to make the correct decisions, particularly when it came to defence, when it is particularly crucial that you know when to commit to the breakdown and when not to.
"But I think there is still work to be done and we are going to have to sharpen up on that sphere of our game even more now that we are in the northern hemisphere."