Cape Town - Former All
Blacks captain and hooker Sean Fitzpatrick has questioned the decision to remove Bismarck
du Plessis from the field so early in the All Blacks' 38-27 victory at Ellis Park last Saturday.
BallzRadio's website Fitzpatrick said Du Plessis' exit was a
key turning point in the match.
du Plessis is the most influential man in world rugby at the moment and it is
just amazing that they took him off at the 50 minute mark, especially in that
part of the field (5 metres away from the All Blacks’ tryline). The one place
where the All Blacks were under pressure was at in the scrums and the reason
for that was Bismarck,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick added that despite the disappointment of Du Plessis' early exit, the match proved that there were exciting times ahead for rugby’s greatest
“The intensity and the atmosphere reminded me
of ’96 at Loftus. You have to take your hat off to both teams for the attitude
they played with. The intent to play the game was quite phenomenal.
clearly showed how far these teams are ahead of other international teams in
world rugby at the moment.
played at Ellis Park and having played against the Springboks so many times,
for me the game was what rugby is all about and Saturday showed that the
rivalry (remains strong),” Fitzpatrick said.
to the Ellis Park Test the All Blacks had only conceded eight tries in seven
games and Fitzpatrick praised the Springboks for their exciting, attacking
brand of rugby, which yielded four tries against the All Blacks.
ago England beat the All Blacks by matching them physically and having a go at
them and I said before the match if South Africa are going to beat the All
Blacks they have to do the same thing, and for 70-odd minutes the Springboks
took the All Blacks on,” said Fitzpatrick.
Former All Blacks captain Fitzpatrick led the All Blacks in their 1995 Rugby World Cup final loss against the Springboks at Ellis Park.