Matt Proudfoot has hailed the massively influential impact the Springboks scrum had on beating England in the World Cup final. Half of the ten penalties conceded by the English in the 32-12 decider stemmed from a set-piece where the dynamic dramatically changed as early as the third minute.
England tighthead Kyle Sinckler was concussed following an accidental collision with Maro Itoje and with the game restarting with the final’s first scrum, the Boks targeted piling pressure on replacement Dan Cole. “That first scrum allowed us to keep applying the pressure. We said after that, let’s keep looking for more scrums,’ explained Proudfoot in the aftermath
“I must say Beast (Tendai Mtawarira), a man who has 119 caps, stays hungry as anything. On Monday he said: ‘What can I work on in my game?’ I said, ‘let’s just worry about the final’. He’s been really exceptional and wanting to end his career on a high note. He was great tonight.
“There is an incredible belief in our scrum, in what we do, it’s something the pack really thrive on. We have been seeking eight front row forwards. We knew in play-off rugby it’s so crucial, we have been developing pressure points. I would not say England have any weaknesses at the scrum, they have been great. They put New Zealand under pressure.
“We take pride in our scrum. Losing your starting tight-head after a first few minutes must be tough to respond to. It gave us a chance to get a foothold and put pressure on them.”
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Starting tighthead Frans Malherbe was thrilled with how the set-piece battle transpired. “The game worked out well for us. The scrums went well in the first half and, as a prop forward, there is nothing more you can ask for. Really, really happy with the performance from everyone.
“We tried to isolate ourselves from all those talks going on outside. We had our plan and tried to stick with our plan. We only had two training days and the focus was on executing our plan, and all the outside noise and mind-games or whatever.”
The Springboks were head and shoulders better than England's players in the final, a performance reflected in the player-by-player ratings https://t.co/KQul8xLogx
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 2, 2019
On having a winner’s medal around his neck, he added: “I can’t describe it yet. It’s definitely not sunk in yet. Hopefully throughout the night, throughout the celebrations Sunday morning, I will have to pinch myself.
“I was sitting on the bench and I was so scared that this was a dream – but obviously it’s not. It’s an amazing feeling, to be part of something like this, to be part of a group that achieved something like this.”
WATCH: RugbyPass catches up with some rowdy fans following the final in Yokohama
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