Bok dominance inspiring Bulls scrum

rugby18 April 2024 09:20| © SuperSport
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Wilco Louw © Gallo Images

The inspiration that the Springboks have given the franchises to emulate the attacking weapon that is the scrum weighs heavily on the minds of Bulls players, and especially the front row.

Strongman Wilco Louw admitted the standard has been set at national levels and it has been an inspiration for him and his teammates to improve their scrum significantly.

Louw’s front row have won the second most scrum penalties in the competition, and are a far cry from the easy beats they were two seasons ago.

And they’re motivated to do more.

“You look at the reward the Springboks get from having a really dominant scrum, I think everyone in the world wants to scrum like them,” Louw said when asked about the comparison.

“It’s nice to play week in and week out, but also if there is rotation, we can still get that go-forward ball. It’s good that we get to know each other, the more we do that, the better it will go.

“The Springboks have set the standard for the whole world. It’s not every day that you see the fullback catching the ball, calling the mark and asking for the scrum. That’s where everyone wants to go. It’s a good base for us to attack off and hopefully we can keep building on it every week.”

While the Bulls will look to their scrum as an attacking platform this weekend against Munster, Louw is adamant that the Irish side won’t take a step back at Loftus Versfeld.

“In the URC I don’t think you get one team that’s not a good scrummaging side or one team that can’t exit well. They are a really good team, they are a good mauling side and they are very physical.

“It will be good for us to keep the ball and obviously keep the momentum on our side having good scrums. Credit to them, they are a really good side, they won the URC last year and it’s really tough playing against them. Hopefully we can stick to our plan and execute our plan the best we can.”

Meanwhile Louw’s front row teammate, Springbok Gerhard Steenekamp, believes the Bulls are playing knockout rugby now, especially as they need to win their remaining games to ensure they have home advantage for the playoffs.

“We are going into play-off rugby at the moment, where we have to win everything coming our way to end up on top – and that is the goal.

“So, I think every game will be seen as a knockout game, and we will give it our all, as if it is our last game.

“Loftus is a special place, and whenever you play here, then everything becomes a bit more personal.

“The rich history that we have at the Bulls, you have a name to honour, and we want to make sure we don’t disappoint our supporters. But we must still win the game on the field.”

Steenekamp sung the praises of Louw and the impact his arrival has had on the Bulls pack.

“It’s awesome scrumming with Wilco. I don’t think I’ve met many guys who are stronger than him. I’m enjoying it a lot, and that also brings out the best in you – that you make sure you don’t let down the guy next to you and that is even more so now.

“We want to make sure that both of us are on the same standard, otherwise it won’t help as well. They are a world-class team – lots of international players – so it will surely not be easy.

“But this whole week we are focusing on ourselves. We must do what we must do – train, and carry out our plans – and do it to the best of our abilities. We can’t worry about what they are going to do. We don’t have different teams, we are one team, and the big thing is to stand up after a loss.

“The biggest thing for us is to again have a big rebound, and that is what we are focusing on.”