WP Nel (Getty Images)
Newcastle – Pieter de Villiers believes Scotland’s
tighthead prop WP Nel has a big point to prove against South Africa in a Group
B World Cup encounter here at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Just like Nel, De Villiers, also a tighthead prop in his
playing days, left South Africa and went on to play 68 test matches for his
adopted country, France.
De Villiers, who was born in Malmesbury, is now the scrum
coach of the Springboks. He believes moving to Europe plays a big role in the
development of a prop forward. He feels WP Nel is one of those players who has
benefitted immensely as a result of this.
“I think WP has really developed as a player since he
moved to Europe,” said De Villiers at the Bok hotel on Tuesday.
“Playing in Europe brings a different challenge at scrum
time. WP is now a much more balanced and rounded player and has become
Scotland’s number one tighthead prop. He definitely has a lot to prove and we
expect a huge battle with him there in the front row,” warned De Villiers.
The former French international believes the Boks will
have to make a big step-up in the scrums if they want to beat Scotland on
“Last week we initially struggled in the scrums against
Samoa. However, we became stronger as the match progressed. We made a few
technical adjustments and things improved especially towards the end of the
game,” he explained.
De Villiers believes Scotland will pose a much greater
threat across the park with the New Zealander, Vern Cotter, as coach.
“Vern is a brilliant coach who has made a huge difference
to the way Scotland play the game. They have had a brilliant start to the
competition. They are top of the log in Group B and we are expecting a huge
battle,” he added.