‘Beast’ can only get bet­ter for the Boks

‘The guys take pride in their scrum­ming. When guys in­vest in it and they get a suc­cess it’s a mas­sive boost.’

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN pic­tured,

DON’T THROW Beast away just yet! That was the em­phatic plea of Spring­bok scrum guru Matt Proud­foot yes­ter­day. Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira,

has come un­der some crit­i­cism in re­cent times with de­trac­tors sug­gest­ing his time in a Bok jer­sey is up, but Proud­foot said the veteran loose­head prop, who is in his 10th sea­son with the Boks, was a key fac­tor in the scrum­ming suc­cess of the team over the past few years.

Proud­foot said that as the se­nior front-ranker in the cur­rent squad, Mtawarira’s con­tri­bu­tion in help­ing to grow the likes of Frans Mal­herbe, Steven Kit­shoff, Ruan Dreyer and even fringe props like Ox Nche, Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw, is mas­sive.

“To say a guy with 90 caps is past it is crazy,” said Proud­foot. “He’s been in­cred­i­ble. Talk to any of the props ... he’s been great. “When we talk about the dark art of scrum­ming it comes with ex­pe­ri­ence. He has so much knowl­edge. He’s been there, like Coe­nie (Oosthuizen) as well ... they can pass all of that on to the rest of the guys.”

The Boks have been a pow­er­ful scrum unit in the cur­rent se­ries against France – la­belled one of the best scrum­ming teams in the Six Na­tions by Proud­foot – and Mtawarira’s vis­i­ble show of sat­is­fac­tion when the Boks won a scrum penalty in Dur­ban on Satur­day tells you ev­ery­thing about what win­ning a front row bat­tle is all about.

“The guys take pride in their scrum­ming,” ex­plained Proud­foot. “When guys in­vest in it and they get a suc­cess it’s a mas­sive boost.

“I’m so pleased about our prop stocks ... the guys who are here and also the fringe guys (at the SA “A” team) ... they’re all dy­namic per­son­al­i­ties, and it bodes well for the fu­ture of South African rugby.

“They’re all mak­ing their own con­tri­bu­tion, since the first camp of the year. You see Coe­nie and Ruan talk­ing about bind po­si­tions ... all of them are work­ing to­gether to be a dom­i­nant pack, and that stems from the ap­petite to be suc­cess­ful.

“They’re all con­stantly up­skilling each other and that is pleas­ing. They’re the ex­perts; I’m just cre­at­ing the en­vi­ron­ment for them to work in.”

Mtawarira, with all his ex­pe­ri­ence, is ex­pected to earn cap num­ber 90 for the Boks on Satur­day in the third Test against the French at El­lis Park, and he may have a new tight­head prop pack­ing down with him – Lions star Ruan Dreyer.

The Lions man is ru­moured to be in line to get a start on his home turf, but when asked about the pos­si­bil­ity yes­ter­day, Proud­foot said the de­ci­sion lay with head coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee.

“Al­lis­ter has spo­ken about build­ing ca­pac­ity, to try to get growth in the front row, but the prob­lem is the four guys (who’ve been in the match­day squad so far) have been play­ing well and you have to re­ward them,” said Proud­foot.

“It’s not my de­ci­sion to make, but I will give my best as­sess­ment to the coach about what I feel is best for the chal­lenge and the coach will make the de­ci­sion.”

Mean­while there will def­i­nitely be changes at out­side cen­tre, scrumhalf and blind­side flank. Lionel Mapoe – who started in Dur­ban – has been re­leased from the squad to play for the SA “A” team, open­ing the door for Jesse Kriel to take over at 13 again, while Oupa Mo­hoje’s con­cus­sion means Jean-Luc du Preez is likely to get a start at blind­side flank.

And, with Ross Cronje ruled out late yes­ter­day be­cause of con­cus­sion – which was only picked up by the team’s med­i­cal staff on Mon­day af­ter­noon – there’s an op­por­tu­nity for Fran­cois Hougaard and Rudy Paige to get some game time on Satur­day.

Coet­zee will name his lineup to­mor­row af­ter­noon.

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