Scarra Ntubeni likely to make Bok debut against Argentina
Four hookers prepped as part of plan to create depth
Springbok forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot says Scarra Ntubeni was included in the squad to face Argentina in their farewell Test match at Loftus on Saturday in a bid to increase depth.
The industrious Ntubeni‚ who has been impressive for Western Province in their Currie Cup campaign‚ is likely to make his debut on Saturday and Proudfoot said they want to have players on standby who will be fully prepared in case they are called upon during the World Cup.
“Going into a World Cup year‚ you need four hookers prepped in the system, and it has always been part of our planning to create depth‚” said Proudfoot at their base in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“Our plan was not just to create a squad of 31 players who will be on the plane‚ but to have eight or nine more who will be prepared for any eventualities.
“With regard to scrumhalves and hookers‚ we travel with three but you need one more ready to go and this is great for Scarra.
“Western Province have been doing really well in Currie Cup‚ he [Ntubeni] is a guy I know very well and he is respected within the group.
“He has been on numerous Springbok training camps before and if he gets on to the field on Saturday it will be his Test debut.
“I am excited for him‚ he has struggled through a lot of calf injuries and it bodes well for his resilience to really fight through the tough times.
“An opportunity has presented itself and I am really excited for him to get the chance.”
Ntubeni will be joined by Western Province teammates Wilco Louw‚ Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and utility back Dillyn Leyds and fellow loose forward Marco van Staden from the Blue Bulls.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match‚ Proudfoot said he was satisfied with the execution of the line-outs against Argentina in Salta last weekend and he expects more of the same in their last match before they depart for the World Cup.
“These guys play Super Rugby against each other every weekend and they understand the line-out formations‚” he said.
“I think it is a lot tougher‚ given the nature of the Rugby Championship where games are tight.
“The ball is imperative and you take what’s on and that is the tough thing about it.
“It is almost like a game of chess on the field that your line-out call is playing with the opposition.
“For us against Argentina last weekend‚ we had a specific plan that we wanted to employ.
“If you look at the way the Jaguares have been playing‚ they are very dangerous if you give them the ball.
“We wanted to limit the number of possible turnovers while striving for continuity in our set phase because that will be crucial at the World Cup.
“It has taken a little bit of time to get there but I was pleased with what we delivered at the weekend.”
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