Bismarck du Plessis says the Springboks’ crushing win against England was the perfect answer to their critics.
Sports Illustrated reports that the 24-year-old hooker was forced to fly home from the tour after damaging a hamstring early on in the match against Scotland at Murrayfield. The Boks went on to claim a 14-10 win but were widely slammed for another below-par performance following their scrappy 20-15 victory against Wales in Cardiff. However, Du Plessis says the players never stopped believing in themselves in the build up to the Twickenham Test, even when others did.
“I hate blaming referees but we weren’t happy with how the new laws were applied in Cardiff and Edinburgh, especially at the breakdowns. The refs were very inconsistent and that disrupted our momentum. All players ask for is consistency … what’s good for the goose should be good for the gander. The referee at Twickenham was a lot better and the guys were able to get going. I thought we played very, very well, and silenced our critics.”
Having left the UK unbeaten for the first time since Nick Mallett’s team in 1997, the Boks will take a lot of confidence into their next assignment – the three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions in June.
“Before the tour, we decided that we wanted to win all three Tests and signal our intentions ahead of the Lions series,” says Du Plessis. “I don’t know how much of an impact these wins will have on next year’s series, because the Boks had a good end-of-year tour in 1996 only to lose the Lions series in 1997. But it has definitely given us a boost.”
The Boks finished the 2008 season playing with a lot more structure and purpose than they did when it began against Wales, which bodes well for the Lions series.
“We always play with structure, but I agree we played with more of it from the match against the Wallabies at Ellis Park onwards,” says Du Plessis, who also claimed ownership of the Bok No 2 jersey in the latter half of the season before getting injured.
“John [Smit] did really well at tighthead against Wales and he has a great future in the position. However, he showed against England that he also still has a great future at hooker – we’ll have to see what happens with the Sharks in next year’s Super 14.”Tweet