With the loss of Eddie Andrews to national duty and Neil Fullard to injury, the Western Province scrum looks set to take a few more knocks this year.
However, the Province players remain optimistic about their Currie Cup season which kicks off against the Pumas in Witbank on 24 June.
“A lot of negative things have been said about our scrums, but people forget that we started well in the Super 14 and got plenty of good shoulders in,” WP hooker Schalk Brits told keo.co.za.
Brits does however admit that the pack did experience a problem of consistency in the competition.
A positive that came from the Stormers unsuccessful campaign was the emergence of Brits and Ross Skeate as a quality line-out combination. This proved to be the Cape Town franchise’s main source of secure ball in the set pieces.
“It’s a great advantage having Ross in the team, as it is having Luke [Watson], and I feel that it is a great loss to the Springboks that they weren’t selected.”
The result is that WP have retained some very strong players and so may have the advantage over the supposed stronger packs of the Bulls or the Cheetahs, who have lost more players to the national squad.
The players will also be looking to improve their continuity, as one or two disorganised phases was the best they could muster on attack in the Super 14.
“Our line-outs are our greatest strength, but we did have a few problems in putting the phases together as the Stormers,” said Brits. “That has been our main focus in training for the Currie Cup so far.”
By Jon Cardinelli