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Proudfoot deserves credit

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The former tighthead prop first worked with Erasmus at the Stormers, where he moulded a rather green forward pack into one of the best in Super Rugby

South Africa has been abuzz with congratulations and appreciation for our World Cup-winning coach and captain. And no words can even begin to express how deserving they are of those praises.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus and captain Siya Kolisi have been at the centre of South Africa’s massive success story.

But another man who’s played a big role in the Springboks’ World Cup triumph is assistant coach Matt Proudfoot. And he is in some ways the unsung hero of the Boks.

The Springboks’ forwards have been absolutely sensational in 2019. Individually they’ve shone, and as a unit they’ve been even better. They’ve consistently laid the platform, and during the World Cup final, their performance reached a climax that few would have even thought probable.

At the International Stadium in Yokohama on Saturday, the Bok pack absolutely ruined England.

In fact, it was like they actually had got even better. Eddie Jones’ men had no response to the South Africans’ power game, they could give no response to their dominance.

Even when Erasmus brought on replacement props Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch, there was no drop in that dominance.

Why would there be? South Africa’s reinforcements on the bench are anything but second-string. That bench has been instrumental in the Springboks’ success.

And looking at everything this pack has done throughout the season, Proudfoot has to be doing something right.

The former tighthead prop first worked with Erasmus at the Stormers, where he moulded a rather green forward pack into one of the best in Super Rugby.

The same Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi and Kitshoff, who are now bossing opposition packs at Test level, have been moulded by Proudfoot’s hands.

But apart from all the Western Province and Stormers products that are now in the Bok pack, apart from all the current Boks Proudfoot has worked with at provincial level, it’s what he’s done for the Boks forwards in recent years that’s been quite something.

The players all speak highly of Proudfoot.

This Springbok pack has played possibly the biggest role in the team’s success and that alone should say a lot about the influence of the man working directly with them.