Frans Malherbe says the concerted effort from the players and coaches to learn from one another was one of the main contributing factors to their improvement from the first to the second Tests in the Lions series.
Malherbe will start at tighthead in the Bok front row alongside Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) and Steven Kitshoff (loosehead) in Saturday’s series decider against the British & Irish Lions, with the trio packing down against props Wyn Jones and Tadgh Furlong, and hooker Ken Owens.
Jones and Owens take over from Mako Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie in the two changes among the visitors’ forward pack.
And while Malherbe showed great respect for the opposition, he said the Springbok front rowers were on the right track as they continue to form an even stronger bond on and off the field.
“We’ve grown a lot as a pack and credit to the back five, who have bought into our plan and who generates the power in the scrums,” said Malherbe.
“We are learning a lot from one another and working together to make the team better.
“When I came off the field on Saturday and saw the impact the forwards made off the bench, I was very satisfied.”
Commenting on the changes the Lions made in their front row for the third and final Test between the sides, Malherbe said: “All the British & Irish Lions props are world-class players, but we have to focus on ourselves and our preparation and ensure that we are 100% ready for the weekend.
“If you look at the impact the bench made last week, we are all on the same level, so even though they may have made changes, it doesn’t change much in our preparation.”
Malherbe spoke highly of the influence the Bok coaching unit has had on the strong cohesion within the team.
“As a coaching team everyone has their department that they specialise in, so there is a system in place and all the players trust that system,” said Malherbe.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Daan [Human, scrum coach] and Deon [Davids, lineout coach] since they joined the team.
“Daan is very passionate about scrums and I love it when a coach gets everyone excited to scrum. Deon is equally passionate and his attention to detail in the lineouts is one of his main strengths.”
The match kicks off at 6pm at the Cape Town Stadium and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Photo: EJ Langner/Gallo Images