Jon Cardinelli

‘Bismarck won’t hold back’

Bismarck du Plessis will start at hooker for the Springboks against the All Blacks Bismarck du Plessis will start at hooker for the Springboks against the All Blacks

Springbok talisman Bismarck du Plessis will be encouraged to play his belligerent brand of rugby on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.

A lot has been said and written about Du Plessis, and about the Boks' abrasive approach, since the Test at Eden Park three weeks ago.

It was in that Test when Du Plessis was yellow-carded twice for what the referee perceived to be dangerous play. However, video replays of both incidents have since confirmed that the official, Romain Poite, was wrong to send Du Plessis from the field and end the game as a contest.

Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped Australian and New Zealand writers from vilifying Du Plessis, and even going as far to brand the Boks' style of play as 'thugby'.

Perhaps these accusations reveal an insecurity on the part of these writers. Perhaps they realise that there aren't too many teams who can match the Boks in a physical contest.

The Boks have taken no notice of these baseless allegations. They will play the way they've always played this Saturday: hard.

Discipline will be important, but that doesn't mean that the Boks will hold anything back.

'That's the worst question I've ever been asked in my entire career,' said Jannie du Plessis last Saturday after the Boks had just beaten the Wallabies 28-8.

The Bok tighthead was asked whether his brother, Bismarck, would be holding anything back in the subsequent game against the All Blacks.

'Not a chance,' Jannie barked.

The same question was put to Meyer on Wednesday. Adriaan Strauss started last week's clash at Newlands, while Bismarck du Plessis has now been preferred at No 2 for this Saturday's battle with the All Blacks.

Meyer echoed the sentiments of the older Du Plessis brother. The man wearing No 2 at Ellis Park this Saturday will have a particular job to do. And where he leads, the rest of the Bok heavies are likely to follow.

'I want Bismarck to be Bismarck,' said Meyer. 'That's why he's been selected. Bismarck is very physical. He's a great leader and he usually lifts the team when he plays well.

'We know that the All Blacks are a physical bunch, so that means we have to be even more physical in Saturday's contest.'

Meyer clarified that this didn't mean the Boks would push the boundaries of legality. They've picked up five yellow cards in the past three Tests, and the Boks realise that no team can hope to win a big Test with only 14 men on the park.

'We also have to be very focused and disciplined,' said Meyer. 'You need to bring physicality to the party, but you are not going to win the game by being over-emotional. You need to be very clinical, very focused.'

The referee for this Saturday's Test at Ellis Park is Nigel Owens from Wales.

Photo: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix

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