England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has revealed how working under Eddie Jones has been an ‘eye-opener’ compared to his time with the Springboks.
Proudfoot – who presided over the dominant Bok pack that mauled England in the World Cup final in Japan last year – was appointed as England’s new forwards coach prior to this year’s Six Nations.
He has since returned to South Africa after the Covid-19 pandemic brought the global rugby calendar to a stop, but is still keeping in touch with the England squad through social media.
‘What has been very different for me is the way Eddie produces his system,’ Proudfoot said.
‘Where the Springboks really focused on what their model was, Eddie looks at the holistic process, really looks at his training methodology, how he prepares a team and how forensically he goes about it.
‘What has been an eye-opener for me is that I’ve had to learn and grow. In the South African environment, a statement was “execution above innovation”. Here it is “execution through innovation”.’
Proudfoot warned that it could take some time for players to adjust to full contact when the season does resume after the coronavirus crisis. He pointed to the lack of routine physical training as a particular problem as the players look to regain match fitness.
World Rugby this week published their guidelines, saying that a return to full training would require a reduction in physical distance measures.
‘Rather than a generic programme that most teams would follow, we have tried to look at the player from a holistic point of view,’ Proudfoot added. ‘Where could we improve him from his home environment where we could not improve him in camp?
‘Contact training is something that is going to take a bit of time. Once we can start training in smaller groups and institute smaller group situations, thing can start to change a little bit.’
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