Bismarck gets to start

2014-10-02 00:00

BISMARCK du Plessis has been given a starting berth at hooker for the Springboks’ final Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks this Saturday.

After Adriaan Strauss enjoyed a couple of starts ahead of the Sharks hooker and did considerably well in that time, Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to swop the two.

“At hooker, we’ve decided to rotate Bismarck with Adriaan Strauss, both of whom must rate amongst the best hookers in the world at the moment,” the coach said, after announcing the starting line-up.

Du Plessis’s promotion is the only change in the team who beat Australia 28-10 last weekend.

Fellow Sharks players Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach are still on the bench, despite impressive performances last week.

The Boks have decided to give burly number eight Duane Vermeulen until the 11th hour to prove his fitness after he picked up a rib cartilage injury last weekend.

“It’s been good to build some form of continuity, and we’ll give Duane as much time as possible before making a final call,” said Meyer.

“He’s been one of our best players in the last couple of weeks and is responding well to medical treatment, but if he can’t make it, we can fall back on the experience of Schalk to start at number eight, with Warren coming on to the bench,” he explained.

Young blindside flank Oupa Mohoje retains his starting spot after a strong showing in his first start last week.

He was especially good when carrying the ball, and defended well — hardly putting a foot wrong in what was a big occasion for the Cheetahs youngster.

Mohoje now faces a major test against arguably the best blindside in rugby history — All Black captain Richie McCaw.

The All Blacks will pose a different challenge after the Boks did well to build phases and constantly attack against the men from down under.

Considering New Zealand’s dynamic game plan, the Boks may find themselves kicking a bit more than last weekend, and they will need to be accurate in that department.

“There are areas of the game we know we have to improve on against New Zealand.

“We’d like to go out there and enjoy the occasion and carry on where we left off against Australia. Hopefully, we can get quick ball, like we did towards the end of the Test in Cape Town,” Meyer said.

The Boks host the All Blacks at Ellis Park, Joburg, on Saturday.

Kickoff is at 5.05 pm.

The All Blacks will announce their team today.

Bok team (15-1):

Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (c), Bryan Habana, Handré Pollard, Francois Hougaard, Duane Vermeulen / Schalk Burger, Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, Marcell Coetzee, Victor Matfield (vc), Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger / Warren Whiteley, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen.


Springbok stats:

Age: 30

Bok debut: vs Australia, July 2007.

Test caps: 65 (38 starts, 27 subs)

Test tries: 9

Win-loss-draw ratio: 48-16-1.

•If he scores a try, Bismarck will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his older brother, Jannie, will extend their record of playing together in 39 Tests for the Springboks. Bismarck, Jannie and Tendai Mtawarira will also extend their record of 17 Tests as a front-row trio for South Africa.

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