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postheadericon Os du Randt – Springbok Scrum Coach

Cape Town – “Crouch, touch, pause, engage!”

These words are probably spoken on a daily basis by scrumming coaches all over the world, but carry a special kind of authority when they are uttered by Os du Randt.

Os du Randt

The legendary loosehead prop, who played 80 Tests for the Boks and won World Cups in 1995 and 2007, conducted his first session as his country’s scrum coach on a soaking wet training field at the University of Cape Town on Tuesday.

South Africa’s forwards immediately looked focused and coach Peter de Villiers praised Du Randt’s influence.

“I think everyone could see today that Os made a difference, especially at a mental level,” said the Bok coach.

“You can’t teach John Smit (captain) anything about scrumming at this level, but you can manage him by perhaps stimulating thought. If we can succeed in that, we would already have achieved something. I hope Os can help take us to a next level this year.”

Smit, who will play his 95th Test for South Africa on Saturday, described Du Randt as an “asset”.

“We played about 50 Tests together so he knows my strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. Os will also help a guy like Gurthrö Steenkamp, who has had a very good season and improved a lot,” said Smit.

“When we got Percy Montgomery as kicking coach, he understood the team’s ethos with his experience of 102 Tests.

“Os came in as a father figure in 2004 as a player and can only strengthen us.”

While the Boks were not happy about the officiating at the scrums in Cardiff, the weekend’s scrumming effort against Wales was not particularly impressive.

“We made life difficult for ourselves by going in early on two or three occasions and when that happens it’s difficult to get the referee on your side again,” said Smit.

“We got it right by the end of the game, but still worked hard with Os today. We’re up against a strong tight five on Saturday.”

The French certainly pride themselves on a powerful scrum and the front row of Nicolas Mas, Dimitri Szarzewski and Thomas Domingo will be a major attacking weapon – even more so if the weather is unpleasant.

“I played a season with Thomas (Domingo). He’s an up and coming loosehead that played really well in the Six Nations and we could see in the Heineken Cup how much emphasis they place on the set phases. We’re bracing ourselves for a big challenge,” said Smit.


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