Jannie heaps praise on Jake
Durban - Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis has praised the work former Springbok coach Jake White has done at the Brumbies, transforming them from a bottom three Super Rugby side two years ago into early pace-setters this season.
The Australians top the overall conference standings after their unbeaten start to the competition, but face a battle to hold on to that position when they come up against the Durban outfit at Kings Park on Saturday.
White, who led South Africa to the 2007 World Cup title, is 18 months into a four-year deal in charge of the Canberra side having taken over after one of their worst seasons in the competition in 2011 when they ended third bottom.
“I think he’s made a massive difference at the Brumbies,” Du Plessis said on Tuesday.
“If you look at it, he’s only in his second season and they’ve really come up in leaps and bounds.
“I’m sure he’ll enjoy playing here this week.”
Du Plessis, 30, was handed his Bok debut by White just a few months before going on to be part of the squad that were crowned world champions in France.
“Of course he’s a very good coach, I mean you don’t win the World Cup if you’re not a good coach,” he said.
“I can definitely see the way he coaches in how the Brumbies play. He’s very, very organised and he plans stuff to the 't'. We are going to be up against a very well prepared side.
“You can see that in the way they’re playing at the moment, everybody knows where to go and it looks like they have a plan in place and one that everyone of the players follow.”
Du Plessis has since gone on to play 42 Tests for the Springboks and recently won his 100th cap for the Sharks.
He said he was relishing his scrum battle against the Brumbies, an area where the Durban side had impressed so far this season.
“I think they have a very good scrum and if you watch their previous games, they did really well there,” he added.
“We’re up against some really good opponents and I think it’s going to be a massive challenge for us to keep the set-piece going well. We’re looking forward to it.”
Du Plessis and the Sharks scrum will have to do without two players that play at the back end of their pack after it was revealed on Tuesday that loose forwards Jean Deysel and Jacques Botes will be out for up to four weeks due to injury.
Springbok Deysel was replaced early in their win against the Kings after suffering a ligament injury to his ankle, while Botes, who had come on to replace him, has a suspected cracked wrist.
However, coach John Plumtree did confirm that captain Keegan Daniel is fit again after his knee injury and could feature against the top-of-the-table Brumbies.
“Keegan trained really hard with us this morning and hopefully he'll be able to return this week, which will ease a little bit of the pain,” the Sharks boss said.