South Africa’s backroom staff believe Ireland’s stunning win over New Zealand in Chicago offers a blueprint for victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Springboks forwards coach Matt Proudfoot hailed Ireland “a damn good side” in the wake of their 40-29 win over the All Blacks at Soldier Field.
Ireland claimed their maiden triumph over New Zealand in 111 years — and now Proudfoot wants South Africa to harness that as motivation ahead of facing England this weekend.
The Springboks are in turmoil after four defeats in six in a lacklustre Rugby Championship, while England are targeting a perfect run of wins in 2016.
Asked if Ireland proved anyone is beatable by ending New Zealand’s record 18-match winning streak, Proudfoot replied: “Correct, and I think the key there is the Irish had a very sound plan and executed it very well.
“Their line-speed was tremendous and they took the All Blacks on where the All Blacks wanted to play, and nullified them as well.
“I thought the kicking game of the half-backs was exceptional as well, and that forced the All Blacks to play from very deep.
“And just the intensity of the Irish side is what you’ve got to have in Test match rugby.
“You hear every week ‘we’ve got to turn up’, it’s a common cliche thrown about but that is the epitome of Test match rugby.
“If you turn up with that intensity that’s right there, then yes you can beat anybody.”
Bryan Habana shook off any fitness doubts ahead of the England clash by taking full part in Tuesday’s training session. Head coach Eddie Jones has transformed England since taking over following their pool-stage World Cup exit, leading his side to a maiden series victory in Australia in June.
England boast a 10-match winning run, with nine of those under Jones’ stewardship. A clean sweep across the four autumn internationals would equal England’s all-time winning streak, recorded under Sir Clive Woodward in 2003.
Ireland ended New Zealand’s tier-one winning record at 18 victories with that superb triumph in the United States Field — but Proudfoot insisted the Springboks were not surprised by the result.
Ireland claimed their first-ever win over South Africa in June, and made their mark on their hosts despite eventually slipping to a 2-1 series defeat.
“Any competition’s great for a game. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re talking about,” Proudfoot said.
“I don’t think we were surprised.
“We know how tough they were in June, particularly around their defensive alignment, their defensive breakdown and how they tend to smother you.
“We knew how difficult it was to crack them. By hook or crook we got away with it in June — being at home, being at altitude maybe gave us a bit of an advantage but we knew how tough they were.
“So we’re not surprised. I listened to the comments of [All Blacks head coach] Steve Hansen afterwards and I echo them. He was complimentary of what Ireland are doing, and that’s what you get when you get that alignment.
“If you’ve got 23 players who are all seeing the same picture on the field and executing that, that’s when you get a great result.
“And that’s what the Irish did.
“So they’ve been setting up for that victory for a long time and planning for it and processing for it. And they’re a damn good side.”
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