‘Experience invaluable at World Cup’

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis believes the value of experience cannot be underestimated at the World Cup, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

Du Plessis is one of seven players who will be featuring in their third World Cup, with Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield involved in their fourth. As a whole, the squad boasts 1 297 Test caps.

Having featured in his first World Cup during the successful campaign in 2007, Du Plessis said he had experienced first-hand the value of being able to tap into the knowledge of those who had been there and done it before.

‘I’ve learned from past experiences. When I was in my first World Cup, I was privileged enough to have the likes of Os du Randt and John Smit around, and to be able to feed off their knowledge. I asked them what to expect, because in a normal international season you only play a few Tests [in succession] before going back to another competition.

‘Here you’ve got to play seven straight games and there’s only a short turnaround after the pool stages. Then the pressure really comes on, everything gets tighter and so I think it’s really beneficial to have players who’ve experienced that before in terms of performing under pressure.’

Although the Boks head into this year’s World Cup campaign with some mixed expectations from the public, Du Plessis said he had no illusions about what the team was capable of.

‘We as a team have great expectations. We’ve trained really hard and we believe we have every chance [of being successful]. I’m not really a guy who reads too much into the media or other opinions. I tend to look at the opinions of my fellow teammates, and if the coach has faith in us, then I have faith that we can do well.’

Photo: Duif du Toit/Getty Images

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