Cape Town - Springbok tighthead prop Wilco Louw says it’s more of a challenge to scrum in northern hemisphere conditions.
Louw made his Test debut when he came off the bench against the All Blacks at Newlands last month and featured in both of South Africa's first two Tests on their year-end European tour.
He replaced Coenie Oosthuizen early in the 38-3 loss to Ireland in Dublin and started in last weekend’s 18-17 win over France in Paris.
The 23-year-old addressed reporters in Padua on Tuesday as the Springboks prepared for this weekend’s Test against Italy.
According to Louw, scrummaging in the northern hemisphere is different to what he’s used to back home.
“The scrums here are a bit more of a challenge. It’s a bit longer, there’s much more pressure because you’re scrumming against a guy that has played 50 or 60 Tests,” he said.
“In the Currie Cup, if you say you’re going for the ball, then you go for it, but here you can’t just do that. It’s hard work physically to get a good scrum and hard work also to get a penalty. It’s much different to what I’m used to. I’m learning every game, every scrum and every practice. And it’s unbelievable.”
The Springboks trained at high intensity on Tuesday, with assistant coach Matt Proudfoot revealing that they opted for a “live scrummaging session” because “the scrum machine and field surface were perhaps not the best”.
Proudfoot added: “The effort of the boys on out there on the pitch was outstanding, and you are able to get so much more from them during live scrum simulations.”
Louw agreed that the live scrummaging session was better compared to a scrum machine.
“I think you can ask a lot of props, the hardest scrums take place in practice because during practice you have a go at each other because you don’t know what lies in wait on the weekend. The harder I have a go at a loosehead and the harder a loosehead has a go at me, the better it makes me at the end of the day,” he said.
“The scrum machine doesn’t scrum back, so while it may look very good scrumming against a machine - because you can push it far - on the weekend there’s a loosehead who will come at you at an angle... so it’s good to scrum against another pack (during training).”