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New rugby laws 'require accuracy'

The Currie Cup will be the first high-profile competition to use the new laws in SA rugby.

FILE: Western Province hope players like Juan de Jongh will have them flying this season. Picture: Official facebook fan page

CAPE TOWN - Western Province assistant coach Matt Proudfoot says keeping a low penalty count is the first task when approaching the new scrum laws.

The new engagement sequence will be introduced in play during the opening weekend of the Currie Cup this weekend.

Proudfoot says they have been focusing on perfecting the fundamentals of the game.

"Accuracy is going to be vital in adapting to the way every referee sees it. I think it's going to be early days for a lot of them (the referees) as well.

"I think accuracy is going to be key to limit the amount of penalties and I don't think the new calling system will make [the difference]; I think it's the team that really focuses on those basics."

Proudfoot says the new laws haven't taken away the collision contest at scrum time.

"They have shortened the distance, shortened the margins for error in the engagement by pre-binding the two props together on either side. But I suppose like any two rugby players they still going to look for dominance in that collision point; so that collision point is probably been delayed."

Proudfoot says the laws aim to simplify the interlocking at the scrum and to ensure scrumhalves feed the ball into the scrum correctly.

"They are trying to make a contest out of the scrum but take away the lottery or the margins for error in engagement process."

Meanwhile, Western Province fullback Gio Aplon says they have put the hurt of Super Rugby behind them and are now focused on defending their Currie Cup title.

Province made the semi-finals of the competition for the past three seasons but didn't make it past the group stages.

They face the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday in the first Currie Cup game.

Aplon says it's important to retain the Currie Cup after the disappointment of the Stormers' Super Rugby.

"We're a bit disappointed about being in the top seven, and maybe being one win away from the top six, but we are very keen to get this Currie Cup underway. We've got big targets on our backs, especially being the defending champions."

Aplon says the team is ready for their first test: "Luckily this year we've had two to three weeks to prepare for the Currie Cup, where as in the past we still had to play a [Super Rugby] semi-final and final."

He adds, "So for us it's going well. There are of couple of new guys who've come in. We are excited as Western Province in this building phase but there is also a lot of experience left in the pack and some quality backs in the team."

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