No scrums, no rugby, warns Jannie du Plessis

Lions prop Jannie du Plessis hopes scrums will still be a key area of the game when rugby players return to the field.


World Rugby may as well wave goodbye to the game for the foreseeable future if they intend to take scrums and rucks out of the sport because of Covid-19 safety measures, former Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis believes. World Rugby was investigating the possibility of these changes in an effort to get the game going again, even in a disrupted form, during the pandemic. "My main job in the game is to scrum, and if we can't scrum they actually take the 'heart and soul' of the game out of the contest," said Du Plessis, who played 70 Tests for…

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World Rugby may as well wave goodbye to the game for the foreseeable future if they intend to take scrums and rucks out of the sport because of Covid-19 safety measures, former Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis believes.
World Rugby was investigating the possibility of these changes in an effort to get the game going again, even in a disrupted form, during the pandemic.
“My main job in the game is to scrum, and if we can’t scrum they actually take the ‘heart and soul’ of the game out of the contest,” said Du Plessis, who played 70 Tests for the Boks.
“Then you can just as well resort to playing touch rugby, because then the essence of rugby has been lost. Physicality and contact is, after all, what makes rugby great.”
Du Plessis, who was on a harvester when he took a quick break for an interview, said he was using the lockdown time to work on his family’s farm outside Bethlehem.
When play resumed post-lockdown, however, the 37-year-old veteran hoped his role would remain crucial, as an anchor at tighthead for the Lions.
“Rugby was invented as a team sport and the beauty is when a scrum works as a unit, with eight players working together to challenge the opponent. It’s a key ingredient of the game,” said Du Plessis, who had previously played 69 games for the Cheetahs, 119 for the Sharks and 74
for French club Montpellier.
“The same goes for the breakdown and your ability to protect your own ball and to challenge opposition for their ball. I just can’t see it functioning without these two facets.”
Du Plessis, who played under new Bulls coach Jake White with the Boks, the Sharks and Montpellier, felt the Bulls would be a force to be reckoned with, now that White was director of rugby.
“I think Jake is going to do very well at the Bulls. The important part, though, is that the players will have to buy into his vision for the team,” Du Plessis said.
“What the players will have to do is embrace Jake’s plans because if there’s one thing about Jake it is that he is very much results driven.
“The Bulls will in future be an extremely tough opponent to play against, especially if Jake gets the players he wants.”

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