Proudfoot backs new Bok loose trio to shine

Matt Proudfoot (Gallo Images)
Matt Proudfoot (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks will field a new loose trio when they tackle Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

No 8 Duane Vermeulen and flank Francois Louw, who ply their trade abroad at Toulon (France) and Bath (England) respectively, are unavailable due to the match falling outside of World Rugby’s Test window.

Siya Kolisi has returned to the side from paternity leave and is expected to take Louw’s place, while either Dan du Preez or Uzair Cassiem will replace Vermeulen.

Springbok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot addressed reporters in Cardiff on Tuesday when he suggested the changes to the Bok loose trio will suit the conditions and opposition.

Vermeulen and Louw relished last week’s wet conditions against Italy in Padova.

Louw scored one of the Boks' five tries in a 35-6 victory, but this Saturday the South Africans face a different challenge under the Principality Stadium's closed roof.

“The game against Italy suited Flo and Duane. Their physicality clearly came to the fore in wet conditions and on a narrow field,” Proudfoot was quoted as saying by SA Rugbymag.

Proudfoot compared Wales' game style as being similar to New Zealand and Australia.

“We're playing on a bigger field this week and against a side that plays a style akin to what we are used to in the Rugby Championship. They have a New Zealand coach in Warren Gatland. That challenge actually suits guys like Siya. Siya doesn’t play as close to the ball as Flo. He has some special skills and I want him to bring those to the contest rather than get him to play like Flo.”

Proudfoot did not say whether Du Preez or Cassiem will start on Saturday, but indicated that he has confidence in both players.

“I don’t want Uzair or Dan to play a style that they are not used to. They are special players in their own right. Uzair is probably closer to Duane than Dan. Uzair plays a lot on instinct. Dan is more of a roaming 8, he has a bigger engine and is similar to Warren Whiteley.”

The Springbok team will be named on Thursday, with Saturday's Test scheduled for 16:30 (SA time).

It will be South Africa's final Test of the year and may be the last for Proudfoot and head coach Allister Coetzee.

A recent newspaper report claimed that Coetzee will not survive when his contract is reviewed in December.

According to Rapport, the performance clause in Coetzee’s contract states that he needs to maintain a 65% win-ratio and failure to do so would allow SA Rugby to relieve him of his duties without a so-called “golden handshake”.

Under Coetzee’s tutelage, the Boks have won 11 of 24 Tests - a 46% win-ratio - and a victory in Cardiff on Saturday will push that percentage up to only 48%, while a defeat or draw would see it drop to 44%.

There were also reports that Coetzee was already in talks with Japanese club Canon Eagles regarding a head coaching position.

The reports also stated that Proudfoot may join Coetzee in Japan, however the Bok coach strongly denied the claims.

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