Cardiff - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was predictably not prepared to make excuses, but his opposite number Warren Gatland made them for him – the scrumming shambles that marred Saturday’s Test between South Africa and Wales was down to the scratchy Millennium Stadium surface.
According to the supersport.com website, there weren’t many scrums early in the match.
In fact, the big men had to wait until the 20th minute before squaring up for the first time.
But once set-scrums became a part of the contest, they were a blight on the game, with referee Alain Rolland taking turns to penalise both sides and frequently having to put the two scrum units through endless re-sets that slowed up the game.
Rolland, struggling to control things, eventually lost his patience and sent two players from both front-rows, Gethin Jenkins of Wales and Coenie Oosthuizen of South Africa, to the sinbin on the hour mark.
"The scrums were a mess but I think we can blame the surface of the ground for that.
"We couldn’t get steady, and neither could they.
"We are not a team that likes to make excuses.
"Our scrumming is something that we pride ourselves on and it has been good all year and it wasn’t good enough tonight.
However, while that was Du Plessis’ initial line, when he was later asked what he would wish for most for next week’s game in Edinburgh, he responded: "What I would pray for is good weather and a better playing surface."