VIDEO: Twins bring 'different dynamic' to Bok pack
The famed Springbok forward muscle that won the World Cup in 2019 will have a different dynamic against the British and Irish Lions next month.
New Bok forwards coach Deon Davids is convinced the inclusion of the Du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Dan, after three years in the international wilderness, will add some much-needed variety to the pack.
The twins both last played for South Africa in June 2018 – Jean-Luc earning 13 Test caps between November 2016 and June 2018, with Dan capped four times in 2017 and 2018.
The duo moved from the family home in Durban to join Sale Sharks in England, where they developed into two well-rounded and more versatile players.
Their recall, when new Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber named a 46-man squad earlier this month, comes on the back of some barnstorming performances in Europe.
They were again at the forefront of the Sale performance against Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs at the weekend – despite the Sharks going down 19-20 in a thriller.
Jean-Luc, playing at lock, made 50 metres from 10 carries, made one clear break and beat a defender, to go with his nine tackles.
Dan, playing at No.8, made six passes, 36 metres from 12 carries, beat one defender and had two offloads. He also made nine tackles.
Those stats are a far cry from the one-dimensional brutes they were perceived to have been when playing for the Durban-based Sharks before heading abroad.
The Bok forwards coach, Davids, said he was “privileged” to have worked with the twins at age-group level, when they already displayed their “qualities” as big, physical rugby players.
However, it is the evolution of their games that now make them such valuable assets.
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“They are good line-out forwards,” Davids told a virtual media briefing on Monday, adding: “They are good ball carriers, they are strong in contact, they can stop momentum and they can give you momentum.
“With them playing in European, against quality international players week in, week out they showed growth.
“They get involved in contests and improved their workrate.
“They are also versatile – both being able to play lock and loose forward.”
He added that they will give the Boks a different dynamic.
“It is fantastic to see them make the step up, play to their ability and we are looking forward to having them here.”
The Boks stepped up their preparation for the three-Test B&I Lions series when the bulk of the home-based players joined the squad after the conclusion of the Rainbow Cup league phases.
The Boks have just short of 30 players in the camp.
Davids said the additional players added a different dynamic at training.
“We started out with a lot of energy and excitement last week and we ticked the boxes we set out to tick,” Davids told the virtual media briefing.
“One can clearly see the excitement growing with the bigger player numbers and there is more competition as well.
“We saw some good things [at our first training session of the day on Monday] and we can certainly build on that for the rest of the week.
“We spoke about what we wanted to achieve at the alignment camps, and we can now implement that.”