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Rugby World Cup: Questions about doping lobbed at Bok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot

Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot faced tough questions from reporters.
Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot faced tough questions from reporters.
Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

Does South African rugby have a doping problem?

That weighty question‚ or verbal hand grenade was lobbed at Springbok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot on Tuesday and it even put the former prop on the backfoot.

“I’m a forwards coach. That is something for administrators to answer. I don’t have the information to answer that question‚” Proudfoot offered.

Wing Aphiwe Dyantyi is the most recent Bok to fall foul of doping regulations.

He recently tested positive for a cocktail of banned substances and Proudfoot’s interrogator was trying to point to a pattern.

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Proudfoot was then asked whether South African rugby’s image had been tarnished.

“I think the image of South African rugby is about what you see on the field. We are a competitive nation.

“The players are tested weekly. Six to eight players are tested weekly. Even from the time we had our camps.

“The testing must be working. That is what world sport has attained. Look at athletics.”

The assistant coach was far more assertive when asked about the impact the loss of star lock Brodie Retallick is likely to have on the All Blacks.

Proudfoot fired back at his interrogator.

“Are you sure he is not playing?" he asked.

“Mr (Steve) Hansen said he has a full squad to pick from in his last press conference and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a little trick up their sleeve.

“If he plays‚ he’s a massive player for them. If he doesn’t‚ they’ve got two very good replacements in (Scott) Barrett and (Patrick) Tuipulotu.

Retallick’s World Cup selection raised eyebrows as coach Hansen conceded his tough as teak second rower would only return to fitness by the quarterfinal stage of the tournament.

Proudfoot‚ however‚ smells a rat.

Whether Retallick plays or not the match is likely to be determined by small margins.

That means the loser shouldn’t be discounted from bouncing back later in the tournament.

“Our mindset in 2019 is to generate a lot of momentum‚ said Proudfoot about the undefeated Boks this year. "We’ve got some momentum and we want to keep that going.

"It would not be ideal to start the competition on the back foot and I think both teams understand that‚” said Proudfoot.

“It will be another close game between the rivals. It has been like that repetitively over the last 18 months.

“The game will be won or lost on small executions. I don’t think that will derail the team’s’ future plans.”

Some weather predictions have rain in their forecast for Saturday and the burly forwards coach didn’t appear too bothered by it.

“We have been here for a while and have trained in different weather. Whether that been hot and dry‚ as well as humid‚ or in rain. A full spectrum. Our plans won’t change.

“Our plans stay in pace. If it rains during the game we will change. That’s why we played the warm-up game against Japan.”

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