Proudfoot impressed by Strauss

Matt Proudfoot has hailed the influence of Adriaan Strauss during the team’s first week of preparation for the series against Ireland, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Stellenbosch.

The Springbok assistant coach, who is taking charge of the team's scrummaging, breakdown and contact areas, said he had been impressed by the manner in which Strauss had conducted himself since taking up the captaincy.

‘Adriaan has been great to work with and to have him leading the squad. During my time at the Stormers [as forwards coach], we always regarded him as a tough customer who had our total respect. He’s got immense character and you can see that with the way he works with the guys around him. He has very high standards, and it’s important for that to be driven by the captain. It enables me to set the parameters and plans, and he’s there to back it up.’

The Boks have opted to include just three overseas-based players in their squad for the series against Ireland, with Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw set to add experience to the loose trio, while uncapped Steven Kitshoff is a relative newcomer to the front-row stocks.

Proudfoot explained what set the incoming trio apart: ‘Duane and Flo will bring lots of experience and physicality. They’ve been part of the team for a long time, and they understand what it’s all about. It’s also important to have that continuity in the pack.’

Kitshoff, who has been a star performer for Bordeaux in France, and worked extensively with Proudfoot during his time at the Stormers and Western Province, is expected to provide an impact off the bench against Ireland.

‘Steven is a phenomenal talent who proved that he can handle the rigours of Super Rugby. A strong characteristic of his is that he can be aggressive at scrum time, but he is also very accurate. Sometimes that’s something that other props can struggle with, but Steven is very good in that regard, and we believe he will be around at this level for a long time to come.

‘Ireland will come here with a scrum that has had a very good success rate over the past few years,’ Proudfoot added. ‘We will need to be very accurate at that set piece, and we will need to adhere and adapt to any interpretations at scrum time.’

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis