Auckland - The driving maul, one of the key elements that helped South Africa win the 2007 Rugby World Cup will remain a point of focus in the team, Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis said.
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“The mauls were one of the main focus areas for us on the weekend against Samoa as we wanted to keep it tight, because we knew they had great athletes, from one to 15, that can run the ball,” he said.
“We put in a lot of work in that area of our game and I can’t see us changing much at this stage."
The Springboks next face Australia - another team known for their expansive approach to the game - in the quarter-final of the tournament in Wellington on Sunday.
The big No 2 said discipline will remain important and is a facet of the game each player takes personally.
Du Plessis, who earned his first start of the tournament against the physical Samoans, is likely to retain his place in the run-on team.
He combined well with Heinrich Brüssow in securing turnover possession.
Getting down and dirty in the rucks just so happens to be an aspect of the game he enjoys.
He credited Sharks coach John Plumtree for some of his skills at the tackle area.
“I pride myself in that (securing turnovers) and I work hard on that aspect of my game at my franchise," said Du Plessis.
“Luckily Plum (John Plumtree) taught me a few things to do in those situations and I’ve taken note of what some of the other guys are doing there, as it is an area that I would like to improve in.”
Deciding when to go for the steal is just as important, and in that regard Du Plessis said instinct played an important role when numbers are committed to rucks.
“It is purely a decision you have to make as a player, I think when you are under you don’t want to commit guys and when you are on the front foot you want to put a lot of players in," he said.
“I think Samoa put us under a lot of pressure with counter-rucking and I think we stood our ground well there."
As impressive as the Springboks were at lineout time - where they won three of the opposition’s balls in the first half - their scrumming also left many a Samoan frontrower begging for mercy during the contest.
Du Plessis said there would always be room for improvement.
“Every game is different, in one game you have great lineouts and in other games your scrums. We just have to keep working hard at everything we do.”
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