‘Div is like a pear, Meyer like an apple’

2012-06-15 00:00

HEYNEKE Meyer is an apple and Peter de Villiers a pear, Bismarck du Plessis said yesterday, diplomatically explaining the changing of the guard in Springbok rugby.

Du Plessis, the Springbok hooker and vice-captain, said there had been massive changes in the squad since Meyer had succeeded De Villiers as the national coach.

“Absolutely everything has changed with the new management team,” Du Plessis said. “Everything is different with how Heyneke Meyer and Peter de Villiers want us to play. They are two different people. The one is an apple and the other a pear and you can’t compare the two.”

Life had also changed for him individually, he said, and he was back doing homework late at night because of the demands of Bok forward coach Johan van Graan.

“His video sessions are really well organised, and the difficult thing is you have to go and study in the evenings with new calls and new moves,” Du Plessis said.

He said the Boks who had been with De Villiers for four years now faced new challenges and there was greater responsibility with a number of new faces in the squad.

He said he was enjoying playing in the Tests alongside his Sharks team-mates, Beast Mtawarira and brother Jannie, in the front-row.

“The more you play together, especially in the front-row, the better you get to know each other. Take Beast for instance. I know when his wife is giving him problems and when he is not sleeping well … ”

While the Boks scrummed well against England, they lost three of their 15 lineouts.

“A lineout is not just one thing. Our calling has to be good, our jumpers have to be good, our support has to be good and our throws have to be good,” he said.

Du Plessis is expecting another bloody battle in the second Test against England at Ellis Park tomorrow. England would come out harder and stronger than they did in Durban, he warned.

Du Plessis said the new responsibility, and his emergence from the shadow of John Smit, would not change his approach.

“I’ve always said that rugby is like war with a little bit more rules,” he added philosophically.

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