Tue 24 Jun 2014 | 01:41
Bismarck raring for breakdown battle
Tue 24 Jun 2014 | 01:41
Bismarck raring for breakdown battleSHARE
Bismarck du Plessis is set to lead the charge for the Springbok forwards as they come up against the Scottish breakdown kings.
The Scots have long been regarded as experts in the dark-arts of the breakdown, having caused the Springboks of 2010 to come unstuck against them and their forward play.
It has become clear that against Wales the South Africans were not at their best when it came to looking after the ball on the ground, although the Bok camp reports improvement over the June Tests.
This improvement in the breakdown has been explained by Springbok hooker Du Plessis as the settling of the forwards to each others gameplay.
"It is always difficult coming out of your franchise and combining with new players and new people," he told the media on Tuesday.
"It's always nice to start building momentum, getting combinations right and knowing what the side is going to do and what each guy is going to do.
"In three weeks we have taken a step closer each week and this is obviously our last game of the four weeks period where we hope to finish strongest."
Du Plessis is renowned for his fetching abilities and will have to be on top form for the national side.
The Boks will be without the services of specialist openside flank Francois Louw as he returns to club rugby in Bath.
"Last year we saw in Nelspruit (where the Springboks overcame the Scots 30-17) that they were really good at the breakdown," Du Plessis added.
"We are really backing ourselves this time around, it is at home, it is here in Port Elizabeth and we are looking forward to the challenge."
Sitting alongside the hooker, forwards coach Johan van Graan echoed Du Plessis' sentiment on the breakdown battle that was likely to ensue.
"I think it will definitely be a battle," Van Graan said of the breakdown in the upcoming Scotland Test in Port Elizabeth.
"Especially after watching them [the Scottish] against the Argentineans, who are pretty special themselves at the breakdown – that was a big breakdown battle.
"If you look at the modern game, there are almost 200 breakdowns in a match, so it is not only about an opensided performance it is actually about 23 of our guys against 23 of them on the attack and defensive breakdown.
"The breakdown battle will be big this weekend, but it will be the same as every week, breakdowns are never going to go away.
"That is the one thing that happens most in a match. Both teams will have a big go there at the weekend."
Agreeing with Du Plessis, Van Graan said he has seen a marked improvement in the breakdown over the last three weeks and expects it to come to a head against the Scots.
"It has been a massive breakdown battle over the last three weeks, but I am sure you have seen some big improvements on our side, especially out wide," the forwards coach added.
"The Scots pose a threat, but then again when you play New Zealand teams, they also do."