Assistant coach Daan Human is confident the Springboks will be able to front up to “the heaviest pack” in the World Cup when South Africa and Tonga lock horns on Sunday.
Defending champions, the Boks have dealt with the disappointment of a 13-8 defeat against Ireland in Paris on Saturday, and wasted no time turning their attention to their final Pool B clash against the Pacific Islanders in Marseille.
The Tongans are in search of their first of the tournament, after defeats to Ireland and Scotland, but speaking at a Bok conference on Tuesday, Human has cautioned the world champions of underestimating their opponents this weekend.
Asked about the Tongan scrum in particular, he told reporters: “If not the heaviest pack in the whole competition, they’ve got a massive hit and we need to be able to handle that.
‘They put Ireland under a lot of pressure. They’ve got a hell of a pack.”
On whether he prefers seeing the Bok scrum score a pushover try or steal one against the head when defending on their own line: “100 percent a pushover try. I’m not going to say what it really does to me, but anyway. For a scrum coach that’s the thing you dream about.
“For the team as well, because they deserve it, especially the way the guys are working and grafting week in and week out. They never complain, they never say ‘no, not one more’, because they know it’s working. It’s been working for us in the past and I’m sure it will work for us going forward.
“It’s awesome the way the guys train. They can handle it. They’re built for this – this is what we do.”
Depending on how the pool pans out, points difference could also be important, but Human is careful about placing too much emphasis on that.
“The most important thing for us this weekend will be to win and do what we have to do in order to qualify for the quarter-final, and that means we have to scrum well, maul well and get the points we need to qualify,” he said.
Putting last week’s loss behind them, Human added: “In the last maul, it was probably one of the best lineout throws I’ve seen, and we didn’t score a try. If we had scored there, we would have won the game.”
Photo: World Rugby