Jannie: Bok scrum world class
London - After stamping their authority on the England scrum during their 21-11 victory on Saturday, Springbok tighthead Jannie du Plessis believes the Bok scrum is world class.
“We worked hard on our scrummaging, and have since 2008 regained our self-confidence.
“We believe now that we could scrum any team,” said Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.
“It feels good when other teams talk about our scrum, because we know it’s something that they fear, but are trying to turn into something positive from their perspective.
“It wasn’t easy. We did struggle in one or two scrums, but in general this was a very successful aspect of the tour.”
De Villiers said in the build-up to the England Test, that the English had the best scrum in the world. Despite this, the Bok front row didn’t yield a single step against England’s fearsome front three of Andrew Sheridan, Dylan Hartley and Dan Cole.
"England scrummed brilliantly in recent Tests, so this became a huge challenge for us. I believe we met that challenge eye-to-eye. It was good to provide the backline with a good foundation – which is really what we are there for,” said Bok tighthead Jannie du Plessis.
The establishment of Du Plessis as the first choice tighthead has been one of the Springbok success stories of the year.
Du Plessis was part of the rampaging Bok scrum during the first tour match in 2009 against Leicester, but was injured and returned home.
“People sometimes write you off, but like any professional you go and work on your strong points and improve your weaknesses. We had a good pre-season at the Sharks, won the Currie Cup and I played regularly,” Du Plessis added.
Du Plessis hopes that the Boks can carry the self-belief earned from the victory over England into next year.
"The coach has asked us to play for each other and to earn each other’s respect.
“I think the men really put their bodies on the line to earn that respect,” said Du Plessis.
“It’s a good first step towards the grand prize that is the World Cup,” he added.
The Test was a triumph for the Boks’ front eight, and they could have produced an even bigger winning margin against the English if their finishing on attack had been better.
"It was disappointing not to get the try when Victor (Matfield) went over.
"Bissie (Bismarck du Plessis) was also almost over, but got carried back. But that’s why it’s Test rugby. At lower levels they would easily have been able to score, but here we were playing against a team that also puts its bodies on the line,” Du Plessis added.
“It’s Test rugby because it tests your character as a person and as a player. The line breaks did eventually come, and at least we could score in the end.”