England in SA
Jannie applauds physical Poms
Jannie du Plessis (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - With his battered face a tell tale sign of the weekend’s bruising battle against the England forwards, Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis admitted the Roses had matched them physically up front.
Du Plessis on Tuesday concurred with England hooker Dylan Hartley's statement, after the Durban Test, that they had met the physical challenge against the Boks.
"I agree 100 percent with Dylan Hartley. Physically they were up for the test,” said Du Plessis, who has won 31 Test caps.
“You can just go and watch the tackles, especially in the first 30 minutes.
"Both teams were very physical and I think it is massive for this week's game to stay physical and play good rugby."
Du Plessis played arguably one of his best Tests in a long time where he fronted up in the scrums and also had the opportunity to run with the ball in hand.
It was in the scrums, particularly, that the South Africans dominated proceedings, with new scrum coach and former French international Pieter de Villiers receiving recognition for their strong scrum performance.
"We have a new coach in Pieter de Villiers who has really brought in some new ideas and exercises that made a massive difference,” Du Plessis said.
"The thing is scrumming is a big part of the game.
“It is one of the foundations of getting good go-forward ball so there is always a lot of emphasis on scrummaging, but it is nice to work with people that make a point of talking about it.”
Du Plessis said while much of the praise should be attributed to the pack of forwards playing as a unit, De Villiers’s clout as a scrum coach played a massive role.
"He brought us technical exercises, a few fitness drills and other ways to put your feet. All those things make a big difference at the end of the day.”
Du Plessis was more reticent and philosophical about his own performance, saying it was each player's aim to play their best Test every time they ran out for the Green-and-Gold.
“But it doesn't always happen like that because you play against opposition who are the best in their country,” the 29-year-old said.
"I guess that is why it is called Test rugby - it really does test you and maybe it was lucky for me I got seen a bit more on the weekend.
"All the eight guys played brilliant rugby in the pack and also in the backs, so I wouldn't say it was my best game - I would say it was a great team performance.”
Du Plessis got some laughs from the media when he described England forwards coach Graham Rowntree as an ogre, after Rowntree’s comments that the Boks brought fresh ‘cattle’ off the bench on Saturday.
"If you look at Graham Rowntree, he looks like an ogre, he's a massive guy himself,” Du Plessis said much to the amusement of journalists.
“I don't think us being cattle will have any effect on him.
"If you look at their pack, they had some beasts as well. Fortunately, we had the real beast on our side.”