Springboks leadership group excites Matt Proudfoot

15 July 2019 - 16:43
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Springboks forwards coach Matt Proudfoot with the players during a training session at St Stithians School in Johannesburg on July 15 2019.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix Springboks forwards coach Matt Proudfoot with the players during a training session at St Stithians School in Johannesburg on July 15 2019.

Springboks forwards coach Matt Proudfoot is pleased with the experienced group of leaders they have in the squad as the South Africans prepare for the Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup later in the year.

The Boks' begin their quest for the Rugby Championship when they host Australia at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.

Coach Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus will be without injured captain Siya Kolisi and the responsibility of leading the team will fall on either Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ Eben Etzebeth‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Steven Kitshoff‚ Tendai Mtawarira and Lood de Jager.

Du Toit‚ Etzebeth‚ Marx‚ Kitshoff or Mtawarira have led their teams at Super Rugby level and Proudfoot said it is pleasing to see that they have so many players who can assume the leadership roles.

“It is pleasing to see how many franchise leaders we have in the squad‚” said Proudfoot in Johannesburg on Monday afternoon.

“You look at Steven Kitshoff‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Eben‚ PSTD (Du Toit) and Beast (Mtawarira)‚ there are a lot of players who have been leaders for their franchises in Super Rugby.

"Now it is for someone to take the leadership role on his shoulders until Siya is ready.

"We have been really pleased with the way he (Kolisi) is coming back and progressing.”

But Proudfoot conceded that Kolisi's absence would affect the balance of the back row.

“Balance is important and how you pick a back row is indicative of how you want to control the flow of the game‚" he said.

"He (Kolisi) is an exceptional leader.

"He has grown very well in the role and I have known him since he was 19 years old.”

Proudfoot also expressed delight as having Bulls lock De Jager back in contention after a long injury lay-off.

“I was delighted to see him get 55 minutes for the Bulls in Currie Cup at the weekend‚" he said.

"He played well and he was solid on the line out.

"What you can see is that they lost a little bit of structure when he was not around."

Proudfoot added that the Boks would not call up a replacement for injured winger Aphiwe Dyantyi as they have sufficient cover in the camp in Johannesburg.

A hamstring injury has ruled him out of the opening weeks of the Rugby Championship.

“Aphiwe injured his hamstring at training on Friday‚" he said.

"He will see a specialist to get an update on that and he is out for the start of the Championship.

"Whatever the specialist advises us on‚ we will phase him back into the team.

"But he is definitely out of the start.

"We are not bringing anyone in because we have confidence in the other four wingers who are with us in camp.

"We are comfortable.”

Listen to the latest episode of the SportsLIVE PODCAST