Springboks

Louw growing in stature

Francois Louw (Gallo Images)
Francois Louw (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - Flanker Francois Louw's skill as a ‘ball terrier’ has made him a prominent member of the Springbok side since he was recalled halfway through last season.

The opensider, whose ability to slow down the opposition’s ball has made him an even more important cog in the Springbok machinery, was sorely missed in South Africa’s 30-17 victory over Scotland in Nelspruit, where the team struggled particularly at the breakdown area.

The 28-year-old , who missed the encounter to get married on Sunday, said greater emphasis had to be placed in this facet of play.

“It is actually very simple, you have to go in lower and harder," Louw said.

"Scotland really did target the breakdown and that is definitely a trait of the Northern Hemisphere sides."

The England-based flanker’s knowledge of referees' interpretations of the breakdown had also made him somewhat of a commodity in South Africa.

While there was a difference between the way referees from the northern and southern hemispheres interpreted the breakdowns, Louw believed it was still up to the team to adapt or face failure.

“I think different refs interpret it differently and it is a difficult area to referee and to enforce the law because there are so many variables that go in there,” Louw said.

“It comes down to the simple fact that you've got to control the breakdown and, as a side, you have to go in hard, strong, with a good body position and provide quick ball and let the rest sort itself.”

While Louw was preparing for his wedding, he had to watch Scotland dominate the Boks at the breakdown, especially in the first half of the match.

Louw believed the way the team had to grind out the victory in Nelspruit would have been a good wake-up call.

“It was obviously not the game we were hoping to play as a side. We underperformed and we underachieved,” he said.

“But a lesson well learned and sometimes you need these kinds of games to put things back into perspective.

His duty towards his country came as a price as he spends what was to be his honeymoon in Pretoria with the rest of the team.

Louw, however, said he did not mind spending time on the rugby field with his teammates instead of his wife.

“It is a great place for a honeymoon -- the first training session quite literally took my breath away with the altitude,” he quipped.

“I left last week Wednesday and I missed the second half of the week but coming back now, everything is just falling back into place.

“The environment the guys have created at the Springboks allows for something like that, and for you to slot back into your place within the squad and contribute as much as you can.”

Teams:

South Africa:

15. Willie le Roux, 14. Bryan Habana, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain) / Jan Serfontein, 11. Bjorn Basson, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Pierre Spies, 7. Willem Alberts / Siya Kolisi, 6. Francois Louw, 5. Flip van der Merwe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Juandre Kruger, 20. Siya Kolisi / Marcell Coetzee, 21. Piet van Zyl, 22. Pat Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein / Juan de Jongh

Samoa:

TBA

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