By RugbyPass.com

South Africa assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot was impressed with many aspects of his side's game against New Zealand, particularly how his pack stood up to the world-class All Black outfit at set-piece time.

"They're a clever side. I thought they brought something different to the game, than what they did in the past. Especially on our ball, they were quite smart," he said.

"On their ball, I very proud of what our pack did. The two hookers lead that department very well, and we put them under a lot of pressure on their ball.

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"They got the two penalties on our ball, after a few resets. But the teams are going to evolve and develop, so we've learnt our lesson from the new challenge that they brought. And I'm sure they will move on from that the next time we play them, and so will we."

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In an opening 20-minute period the Springboks looked to have the upper hand over the New Zealand front row as three scrums collapsed and on a fourth, the All Black pack was sent backward, popping up as the scrum disintegrated. The refs turned a blind eye, however, allowing play to continue every time without going to the whistle, RugyPass.com reported.

When questioned whether South Africa will speak with match officials about the scrum penalties, Proudfoot said he is "sure" Rassie will bring various issues forward.

"I'm sure that our director of rugby (Rassie Erasmus) will have various aspects that he will address after every game.

"I think both side always address certain issues and there are varied issues after every game that we will address.

"That's why I say that Frans (Malherbe) was pretty good. He put his opposition under pressure, and that's going to happen in games – where the one prop gets the rub over the other."

The Springboks gave the All Blacks a hard time in the scrums late in their World Cup opener. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The Springboks gave the All Blacks a hard time in the scrums late in their World Cup opener. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Many fans were quick to jump to Moody's defence on social media, calling out Malherbe for an illegal bind on the arm for the cause of the collapsed scrums.

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Despite the intriguing set-piece battle, the loss is still being processed by the South African camp.

"It almost seems like the World Cup is over. It was a tough game. At one stage it was 17-13, two teams slogging it out against each other. The guys are more than physically hurt – it's like we had our opportunity in that game.

"That's what is getting us. Yes, they were good. We left a few opportunities out there. We respect them for their performance, but we know that this team has it in it to go all the way."

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One area the side will be working on is the maul, which failed to produce much in the hot and humid conditions at Yokohama Stadium.

"Up front, we weren't happy with our maul process. That's something we really want to address. They were smart in the way we expected them to go, to put pressure up in the air, which they didn't.

"They put a lot of pressure on us on the ground, so we took that on board and will be better for that the next time.

"Our contesting was pretty good, our scrums were pretty good, and we were good on their ball as well. You don't always want to learn from a negative situation, but sometimes you never forget those lessons."

This article first appeared on RugbyPass.com and is republished with permission
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