Scotland assistant coach Pieter de Villiers says that his pack ‘won’t hide in the scrums’ when they tackle South Africa in their first 2023 Rugby World Cup match.
The Scots face the world champions in their first Pool B game, and De Villiers has been tasked with preparing the pack for the onslaught of the Springboks pack.
Fantastic opportunity for Scotland
The former French international prop says that the coaching team have tweaked their training week to prepare to face South Africa.
“The training week is similar to what we have been doing, but it’s been adapted to what we want to get right for the World Cup,” De Villiers said.
“There will be some tactical and strategic things that are specific to South Africa. But we also want to keep doing things the way we have been doing them.”
The South African-born coach lauded the Springboks’ performance against the All Blacks in their final warm-up game.
“They are world champions, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to play against them. They have recently shown why they are champions (beating New Zealand in a warm-up match),” he said.
“They did well against the All Blacks and excelled in their strengths, which is the set-piece and defence.
“We know what will be coming our way. Each team has got different super-strengths.
“It’s about the team that is going to do the best in bringing those to the table and making sure we impose how we want to play. That’s really important.”
“You can never hide from the set-piece.”
In their final World Cup warm-up match, Scotland produced a strong scrummaging performance against Georgia.
With another strong pack awaiting them, De Villiers says that his side would not be backing down from the challenge.
“You can never hide from the set-piece,” he said.
“It is about taking them on; it’s always about that one-on-one physicality. There is no hiding in the set-piece.”
De Villiers added that the fact that he was coaching against his home nation did not change anything for him.
“It’s always the same. They are all very special moments. For the players who have worked so hard for a long time, getting to participate in this is really special,” de said.
“As a coach, you don’t have that extra special feeling of being on the field, but the pleasure of working with players and helping them and the team grow is a huge satisfaction.”