De Villiers slams Wallaby scrum
August 3, 2009
Springbok coach Peter De Villiers has criticised the Australian front-row, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore and Benn Robinson © Getty Images
Peter De Villiers has begun the verbal sparring ahead of his Springbok side's Tri-Nations Test against Australia in Cape Town on Saturday, insisting that the Wallaby scrum is vulnerable and will go to ground at any opportunity.
De Villiers' men will be in high spirits after back-to-back wins over the All Blacks, and will not want to slip up in their final home game before heading to face Australia in Perth on August 29.
The Wallaby scrum has been a source of derision for many seasons, but under coach Robbie Deans they seem to have arrested their slide somewhat. Veteran Al Baxter was penalised regularly, sometimes unfairly, in their opening game against the All Blacks, and De Villiers is expecting some 'negativity' from Baxter and his front-row colleagues Stephen Moore and Benn Robinson.
"They will go to ground if they want to and will bring that negativity in," De Villiers told AAP. "They know that they are busy losing, but they will try to milk a penalty from the other side. So we will have to see how we match up to them."
De Villiers is expecting a sterner test from the Wallabies than his side received from the All Blacks, whose loose play from deep left the Springboks with myriad penalty opportunities. Fly-half Morne Steyn converted eight in their 31-19 win in Durban on Saturday, on his way to breaking The Tri-Nations scoring record.
Another area where De Villiers expects to be tested is in the lineout, where James Horwill and Nathan Sharpe provide experience against the mighty Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield.
"(The Wallabies) definitely give more attention to the lineouts because they play much closer to each other, in channel one and two, before they play across the field," de Villiers said. "So those little things are important. There is a very big difference to the Wallabies and All Blacks.
"The Wallabies are much more structured. They will keep you busy for much longer as they retain the ball for much longer. They play phases to frustrate you much more, they force you to go offside and they have a very good kicker in (Matt) Giteau."