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Bok pack looking for 'cohesion'

Thu, 26 Sep 2013 13:53
Jannie-dup-catch630 Jannie-du-plessis-media Jannie-du-plessis-boks-ball
I don't think you can bank on the fact that your scrum can win you a game
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The Springboks' last Test was the cause of much disappointment, and they intend putting things right against the Wallabies on Saturday.

Hooker Bismarck du Plessis' red card dominated discussion and analysis of the Boks' first loss of the year against the All Blacks at Eden Park, but the focus within the team has rather been on the poor quality of their performance that day.

Prop Jannie du Plessis said that the Boks feel that they were far too innacurate in Auckland, and let themselves down by losing their composure at crucial times.

"Regardless of whether we had 14 or 15 guys on the field I don't think we played our best rugby in the last Test, we weren't really clinical and when the odds were against us I don't think we knuckled down and really stuck together.

"I think we made a few irrational decisions and played a bit out of our way so I think it was a big learning curve for us and we look forward to improving on that performance," he said.

Whilst many expect the Bok pack to walk all over their Wallaby counterparts at Newlands, Du Plessis said that his side feel that they were off the pace in their last match and need to deliver a more consistent performance regardless of the opposition.

"Looking back at the game against the All Blacks there were periods of ten minutes at a time where we didn't really play with the rhythm that you need, we didn't have that cohesion so I think that our biggest challenge is to really get back to what works for us and have that cohesion as a pack where we make each other better," he said.

Although the Springboks have been far superior to the Wallabies at scrum-time this year, Du Plessis warned about focusing too much one one aspect of the game when their opponents pose different threats in other areas.

"In rugby sometimes you can compartmentalise things and if the scrum goes well then all of a sudden the pack goes well. I don't think we should do that, I think we should look at our performance as a whole.

"We don't look at Australia thinking that we just want to scrum them to pieces because they are much more than a scrumming team. Sometimes if the guys catch the ball there are only six scrums in a game so I don't think you can bank on the fact that your scrum can win you a game.

"For us as a pack it is something that we really focus on and we have really tried to improve on it, so for us it is important but I think if you play against Australia there is so much more that they can do," he said.

Du Plessis came in for some criticism for a disappointing performance against the All Blacks in which he missed a few tackles, but coach Heyneke Meyer came out in defence of the veteran tighthead who wins his 50th Test cap on Saturday.

"I know in the last game he had one or two lapses but it wasn't his fault, there were certain guys shooting up out of line outside of him and with all due respect you can't always expect a prop to defend the best stepping backs in the world.

"If you look at his stats every single week Jannie is up there with the most cleans or close to the most tackles and he is actually doing a lot of work around the park for a tighthead.

"So I believe he really has been playing great rugby, last week to his standards probably wasn't the best but it was more a team effort that let the system down on defence," he said.

By Michael de Vries

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