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The Springboks boasted one of the sport’s all-time greatest locking partnerships when they won the Rugby World Cup in 2007, but assistant coach Matt Proudfoot believes the All Blacks’ current combination have revolutionised the position in recent years.
Take Brodie Retallick’s stunning intercept try against Argentina in their Rugby Championship opener on Sunday (NZT) for example. Locks didn’t use to do that, he said.
“Watching Brodie again on the weekend taking an intercept, second rowers doing that type of work, I suppose they have shifted the bar as every generation does,” Proudfoot said.
Speaking ahead of South Africa’s much-anticipated clash with the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday, Proudfoot predicted the battle of second rowers to be one of the most hotly contested areas on the pitch. He said his players, including captain Eben Etzebeth, were relishing the opportunity to measure up against Retallick and Sam Whitelock in a precursor to their World Cup encounter.
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