Bismarck calls for better Bok lineouts

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis says South Africa need to improve their lineout play ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup match against Fiji in Wellington.

The title holders scraped past Wales with a 17-16 win in their opening game last week.

“We didn’t use our lineout ball to the best of our abilities,” Du Plessis said.

Photo gallery: Defending the title

“It has been a strength of the Springboks since 2004, when most of the guys started playing, so that is definitely an area where we want to improve, in all aspects of lineout play.”

South Africa would have to make that step up without Victor Matfield, the team’s specialist in that facet of play, after he picked up a hamstring injury in their opening game and was expected to be out for 10 days.

Du Plessis, who came on in the second half against Wales, made a strong impression in the tackle area.

He admitted, however, that their lineout intensity had not been at its highest during the time he spent on the field.

“I think the defensive lineout worked great in the first half, but we slacked down in the second half and we need to keep the pressure on them this week,” he said.

Johann Muller, who turns out for Irish club Ulster, would be able to rise to the challenge, Du Plessis believed, as a replacement for the injured Matfield.

“Johann Muller has played almost 40 Tests as well and he’s been a stalwart at the Sharks,” Du Plessis said.

“He’s definitely changed the lineout mind-set of Ulster so he has great abilities.

“I’ve got great respect for Johann. He has also been a Springbok captain and he’s a big leader in the team.”

As for the threats posed by Fiji, the front row forward said the Boks would have to be sound in defence against an impressive outfit which promised to take to the field in top physical condition.

“If you look at the [Pacific] Island players in Fiji and Samoa, they have very good athletes,” Du Plessis said.

“From one to 15, they can outrun most of our guys and defence is one of the things we have been working very hard on.

“I think a guy like [Bok defence coach] Jacques Nienaber did a lot of work with us, and we could see the work he had been doing with the Stormers the last two or three years, and how they defended, and I think it is helping us at the moment.”

Du Plessis admitted South Africa had been below par against Wales but insisted they were pleased to pick up a win, regardless of the margin of victory.

“We are here to win games and I think sometimes you don’t want to win them by one point, but we want to win,” he said.

“After the World Cup you are not going to see how far you won by in the first game, you just want to win seven games in a row.” — Sapa

View our Rugby World Cup special report for the latest news, features, match reports and multimedia here.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Busy Bee continues to sting despite challenges

Cape Town’s oldest Black rugby club personifies the problems Black rugby faces, including attempts to have its history erased, being affected by apartheid and struggling financially for good resources

Lala kahle Kaunda Ntunja

South African rugby has lost a gentle giant in Kaunda Ntunja. His commentary in isiXhosa poetically ushered in the Springboks’ first black captain and ‘popped champagne’ after Mapimpi’s magic

How Schalk Brits built his fantasy

The Springbok hooker built his long career on his ability to adapt — and will likely do so again now that he’s finally retired from rugby

Sport audit 2019: How SA’s national rugby team performed

The highlight of South Africa's year was the Springboks Rugby World Cup victory

Rennie: All Blacks left it too late to offer me coach job

New Zealand has said its new coaching team will be named before Christmas, but it has now missed out on at least three high-profile candidates

EDITORIAL: Sport is for the people

Administrators, from club to national level, would do well to take the example set this month as a reminder that the people is their primary mandate

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Limpopo big-game farmer accused of constant harassment

A family’s struggle against alleged intimidation and failure to act by the authorities mirrors the daily challenges farm dwellers face

Did Botswana execute ‘poachers’ ?

The Botswana Defence Force’s anti-poaching unit has long been accused of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. Over 20 years the unit has killed 30 Namibians and 22 Zimbabweans

Zondo tightens his grip with criminal complaint against Zuma

The state capture commission’s star witness now faces a criminal complaint and another summons

Sharp sting of the Green Scorpions

Crime busters secure a 97% conviction rate and register more criminal dockets for range of crimes

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…