BOKS HOOKER BONGI CALLS FOR 'FAIR CONTEST' IN SCRUM AGAINST IRELAND

THE SPRINGBOKS EARNED a crucial scrum penalty try last weekend but they weren’t satisfied with how the battle in that area of the first Test went against Ireland.

Hooker Bongi Mbonambi has called for a “fair contest” at the scrum in the second Test, which will be refereed by Englishman Karl Dickson. 

In the first Test, referee Luke Pearce awarded Ireland a free-kick at a first-half scrum after deciding the South Africans had engaged early.

Pearce upgraded to a penalty when he felt it had happened again in the second half but the Boks finished on top at scrum time, winning a key penalty in the 64th minute and then earning the penalty try in the 78th minute to seal their win.

Mbonambi voiced his frustrations about those early decisions against the Boks.

Advertisement

“In the first half, we got frustrated because Ireland obviously looked to play a lot of tricks at scrum time, where we just want a fair competition, we want a fair contest at the scrum,” said Mbonambi yesterday.

“It’s somewhere where we definitely have to learn, to train this week and learn our lessons from the previous game. The Bomb Squad did an amazing job and the penalty try was very satisfying for everyone. But there’s a lot of improvement to be done when it comes to scrumming against them.”

Ireland have lost first-choice hooker Dan Shehan to an ACL injury, with Rónan Kelleher set to replace him in the number two shirt and Mbonambi expects another set-piece tussle.

“With the injuries, it’s part of the game, it happens,” he said. “The other hooker, Kelleher, he’s quite a good scrummager, he’s more physical, so it’s definitely not going to be easier.

“They do have a top-class front row and just one injury in the pack doesn’t really make a difference. We’re expecting a hard challenge when it comes to scrumming but we’ll prepare ourselves and hopefully the scrum will get more rewards.”

One of the other areas Mbonambi is keen to nail is the breakdown, where the Springboks gave up five turnovers to Ireland in the first Test.

The 33-year-old hooker said new defence coach Jerry Flannery has been key to helping the Boks understand what Ireland are keen to do at the breakdown.

“With Jerry coming in, it has helped,” said Mbonambi. “Jerry and Duane [Vermeulen] have been trying to improve our breakdown skills. Jaco [Peyper] is also teaching us the laws.

“We’re looking at things like, you know, when can we counter ruck? When is the ball out?

“Obviously, we know that the Irish team is definitely going to come harder than they did at Loftus. I mean, they pride themselves at sort of shortening the rucks, getting to our nine and slowing down our ball. We saw how it impacted our play when they start getting on to Faf [de Klerk] and all that and shortening our rucks.

“We have someone like Duane who’s been doing it for years and he knows all the ground skills and also having Jaco Peyper teaching us the laws when you’re onside and when you’re offside.

“And also, Jerry is doing an awesome, fantastic job, teaching us exactly how the Irish players attack our rucks.”

2024-07-10T06:18:53Z dg43tfdfdgfd