In the Hot Seat - Pieter de Villiers in Johannesburg
September 26, 2012
Every week we give readers of BOKzine the opportunity to ask questions to South African rugby personalities. Simply sign up for our weekly fan newsletter, BOKzine, by clicking here!

Your Question: Pete, who was the best prop eva, and what is an ideal weight for LS & TH ? - Paul

Pieter answers: That is a good question Paul, but difficult to answer. I can only really comment on players I’ve played with or against and I have to say I really rated guys like Os du Randt, Sylvain Marconnet, Jean-Jacques Crenca, Nicolas Mas, Martin Castrogiovanni, Kees Meeus, Carl Hayman and the likes, to name but a few from my era. There is not really an ideal weight for a prop - just look at Crenca, who weighed 105kg, but will go down as one of the French greats. It's all about explosiveness, technique and fitness.

Your Question: Over the years In a fight which prop would u have to back u up ? - xerxes

Pieter answers: Hey Xerxes, I’m not really a fighter, but I’ve seen a few guys land a few big shots from time to time. I would go and look for them in the 3rd and 4th divisions in France. Hehe.

Your Question: Glad to have you as an forward & scrum expert involved Peter. I said from the beginning the mauling rolls from line-outballs should be used more. Does H/M ever listen & ask for ideas/inputs from you as a scrum-coach, or is he dictating his own strategy only. Good luck ahead. - Martin van As

Pieter answers: Thanks for the support and great question Martin. Heyneke is a great coach to work with and he taps into the knowledge of all his assistants all of the time. I have a lot of say about our play at the scrums, and also get a lot of support from our forwards coach, Johann van Graan. We all work together very well. Regarding the rolling maul, you would’ve seen we’re getting them more into the game, but it’s not that easy against all the teams. For instance, because New Zealand competed on a lot of our lineouts, it was easier for us to get mauls going. It’s been a traditional strength of SA rugby and we’ll keep on using it. We feel the game is developing towards staying on your feet more and almost being able to set up rips and mauls further away from set-piece, to commit fanning defences even more.

Your Question: What is the succession plan for Morne Steyn's position? - Jenny De Almeida

Pieter answers: I’m not the right one to ask about team selection Jenny, but you would’ve seen by now that Johan Goosen is starting at Loftus on Saturday.

Your Question: Welkom terug by die huis Coach.I have noticed that all the scrums where Andries Bekker is the lock, be it for the Stormers or Boks, seem to be stronger with than without him? Your comments? Also can somebody please tell the loose forwards that when they have a defensive scrum, their first job is to help give bad ball to the attacking team & not to hang loose to tackle? – PJO

Pieter answers: Dankie Pieter! Andries is an experienced player and good at the set pieces, but he is also a solid piece of meat and can use that weight to our advantage in the scrums. Having said that, we have four great locks in our squad and personally, looking at their work in the scrums, I’m very happy with what all of them are achieving there. Heyneke, in consultation with all of us on the coaching team, picks the teams, but this is one of those “nice headaches” to have in terms of who to select and who to leave out.

Your Question: Hi Pieter What went wrong in the scrums against the Aussies? What's being done to prevent that happening next week at Loftus? – Wes

Pieter answers: I know our timing wasn’t great at the engagement early on in the game Wes, and furthermore the Aussies have always been very astute tactical scrummagers, but what was great, was that we could sort it out during the game and we ended strong against them. I’m sure we’d like to continue where we finished in Perth this Saturday.

Your Question: Peter, What difference would it make to you as scrum coach if the refs upheld the law on straight put-in into the scrum? I notice that the hooker does not do the hooking anymore as the scrumhalf tries to put the ball under the locks feet with their left hand push and not even standing properly. - Peter L'Estrange

Pieter answers: It’s difficult to comment on that Peter, as the refs have the best view of and feeling for the scrums and we trust they will act on anything that is against the law. The fact that scrums have changed so much over the years, and that the packs stand so much closer to each other, the contest on the hit is much more even and for a hooker to strike towards the exact middle of the scrum becomes mechanically difficult, as the front rowers are basically in a much more compact and confined body position than a decade or two ago.

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