Du Plessis : Springboks are like Usain Bolt

Bismarck du Plessis says the Springboks are like Usain Bolt

South African hooker Bismarck du Plessis has likened the Springboks to Jamaican
sprint legend Usain Bolt by saying that they are able to peak at the big events.

The majority of fans outside of South Africa have largely discounted South
Africa’s challenge at the world cup for a third title after they went through
the Rugby Championship without a win.

The Springboks had their worst ever Rugby Championship campaign as they failed
to register a win and even lost at home to Argentina.

However, 31-year-old Du Plessis – who is due to play in his third World Cup
and has already experienced the thrill of lifting the trophy in 2007 – said
that great teams like great athletes came good on the big occasions.

“I know not a lot is expected of us but we have great expectations,”
said Du Plessis.

“We give ourselves a chance. There could be seven games and the pressure
mounts and we experienced players have been in the situation where you have
to perform under the pressure. We have a good blend of youth and experience.

“It’s all about how you peak at the big tournaments. If you look at someone
like Usain Bolt. He can be injured for long periods then he comes out and wins
world championships and Olympics. It’s the same in our sport.”

South Africa play Japan in their opening Pool B clash on Saturday in Brighton.

While the ‘Boks are hot favourites to steam roller their opponents but backs
coach Ricardo Loubscher urged caution as the Japanese are coached by Eddie Jones,
whom he knows well from the Australian’s time on the South Africa staff in 2007.

“Our focus is just to win this Test match and we’re looking forward to
the challenge,” said Loubscher.

“Eddie Jones is an astute coach who we worked with in 2007 and he will
have insights that will help Japan and we’re expecting a hard game.”

Du Plessis – one of nine survivors from the 2007 World Cup-winning squad –
said the players couldn’t be faulted for the effort they had put into training
and were keen to become the third Springbok side to lift the Webb Ellis Trophy.

“I can remember the World Cup win in 1995 like it was yesterday,”
said Du Plessis, who will join several of his compatriots at French Top 14 side
Montpellier after the tournament.

“I was 11 and watching on TV in a room with 30 or 40 farmers. I remember
Nelson Mandela in Francois Pienaar’s shirt and that extraordinary tension in
extra-time and then history being made.

“I could never imagine then coming on in the 2007 final when John Smit
was injured and helping South Africa win again. We’ve trained really hard and
players like myself have been here before and now we can do our talking on the
field.”

South Africa name their side on Wednesday with the major talking point whether
Handre Pollard or Pat Lambie will start at fly-half.

They play Samoa, Scotland and the United States in the remainder of the pool
matches.

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