Springbok forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot believes this weekend’s Test against Wales will be decided at the breakdown (kickoff 7.30pm).
In the two Tests on their European tour, the Springboks have lost a total of 18 balls at the breakdown, nine in the defeat to Italy last weekend and a similar amount to England in the first Test.
This has stifled their attack as they can’t get good front-foot and fast ball to launch attacks from.
Without an out-and-out fetcher in their group, the Boks tried Willem Alberts and Nizaam Carr in the No.6 jumper in the two Tests.
But a combined total of only five turnovers won on tour is evidence enough that the experiments have failed.
And with Wales poacher Sam Warburton lying in wait, Proudfoot knows they are in for yet another tough afternoon on the ground.
He explains: [We] definitely [need to improve] our breakdown.
“It’s going to be a big challenge against [Sam] Warburton – we couldn’t generate enough quick ball on the weekend.
“We’ve been hammering on the key fundamentals [this week] – particularly at the breakdown to keep our momentum – just to try and generate some quick ball so that we can play.”
Proudfoot adds that the Boks are fully aware of the importance of ending their tour on a high and with Wales also having battled against Japan last weekend, he knows a win won’t be handed to them on a platter.
The forwards coach explains: “The only thing that is level is that there are two sides that are very determined to get a result – two sides that maybe haven’t been playing the way they want to play and striving to get a result.”
Flankers Uzair Cassiem and Jean-Luc du Preez might find themselves on the teamsheet when coach Allister Coetzee announces his side today and Proudfoot believes their energy might just turn out to be the missing ingredient the Springboks needed all along.
He adds: “It’s always good to see how new players come into the environment – to add intensity.
“Jean-Luc and Uzair Cassiem were great at the forwards training.
“[They are] eager to learn and to stake a claim in the side; it’s always nice to see a young guy eager for success and wants to be part of it.”