Rugby Championship

Bismarck set for hooker nod

2013-09-02 18:44
Bismarck du Plessis (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The Springboks have set themselves an ambitious target of dominating the both the breakdown battle and the set phases and with this in mind are set to return hooker Bismarck du Plessis to the starting line-up.

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If there has been one problem area since Heyneke Meyer has taken over, it is the breakdown.

While it is positive that in both games the Boks were able to right their wrongs after halftime and ensure they secured more ball, in both cases against a more settled and attacking outfit they could easily have been punished, and against their Sanzar rivals they surely would be if they try the same again.

That is one part to the equation, the other being that Strauss has had a massive season thus far, playing almost every Super Rugby game and almost every test.

In Bismarck’s case it isn’t necessarily that he is better or worse than Strauss.

Both are exceptional players and Meyer is spoilt for choice.

"Our medical team has done wonders and it is important to have fresh players on the field on Saturday.

"Adriaan has played a lot of rugby, almost every single test and super rugby match.

"There will be a few changes, mostly due to rotational decisions.

"We’ve travelled a lot in the past few weeks.

"It’s not an excuse, and it will even out for everyone by the end of the competition, but we will play three away matches on the trot and we will travel away for all three, so I think it is important to have the freshest guys on the field and the guys who are important to have a go.

"The 23 have played a number of tests now, and we have travelled a lot.

"We are focusing just on this game, but our long-term planning is to keep the players as fresh as possible.

"One of our strengths at the moment is that we have a really strong bench.

"They have made a difference when they’ve come on.

Given that Meyer won’t want to give away any physicality on the bench, it is unlikely that there will be many changes among the props or in the loose trio.

Ruan Pienaar should stay at nine, even though he was less than impressive in Mendoza, while the back three will also be interesting to see. Willie le Roux’s frailty under the high ball is a worrying factor and it will be interesting to see if Meyer continues with him.

 

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