Pack as mean as ever

Springbok forward coach Gert Smal says the days of the mean Bok packs are not a thing of the past.

With the avalanche of injuries that has disrupted the Springbok camp in Bloemfontein, especially in the tight five, concern was growing that the Bok pack would be a little lightweight for next month’s games.

“Yes, the injuries have not been ideal, but the days of the mean pack are coming back,” Smal told keo.co.za. “I don’t believe we have a problem in that department.”

“There is enough experience despite the injuries and some of the guys will recover in time from the minor injuries,” said Smal.

The former Stormers mentor added that specialist coach Balie Swart had brought a cutting edge to the camp. “Balie is really adding plenty to our preparation. As a former prop he knows the finer detail of scrumming and his wealth of experience has been hugely beneficial to the guys.”

Smal pointed out that Swart was the only former Bok prop from the past 10 years to have gone into coaching. He also cut his teeth in New Zealand and with the Sharks. “He brings all of that to the party and I’m sure we will see the effect in the next few games,” he said.

Also, the new Enforcer scrum machine, was providing the Boks with a more thorough workout than conventional machines. “It is adjustable and that flexibility helps us to work on different aspects of scrumming. We can look at feet, leg, body positions and work on the hit at different heights instead of having a machine that accommodates just one level.”

The latest list of tight five injuries: Bakkies Botha (Achilles), BJ Botha (neck), CJ van der Linde (leg), Danie Coetzee (foot), Eddie Andrews (shoulder), Gurthro Steenkamp (wrist), Os du Randt (knee), John Smit (groin), Hanyani Shimange (lower limb). Andrews and Shimange though are expected to recover in time for the World XV match on June 3.

By Andrew Hollely, in Bloemfontein