Big year for Bismarck

2012-03-01 14:18

What a big year this could be for Bismarck du Plessis.

The Sharks hooker can finally deliver on his undoubted potential, not only at the Sharks, but at the Springboks as well.

In both instances he can finally cast his own shadow as the "main man" at hooker, with John Smit now finally out of the picture and adding value to Saracens over in St. Albans.

After watching Du Plessis on the weekend though, I was a tad worried. We have always known that the hooker was feisty and at times allowed a rush of blood to the head to impact on his discipline, but it used to be okay.

We all felt a little bit of sympathy for the young man who must have been frustrated with the whole Smit situation.

I mean, surely “Bissie” was allowed to vent some of his frustrations on his opponents, as he was unfairly treated at both Sharks and Springboks and surely he was allowed to act just outside of the laws when playing for the Boks? He was a victim, so was entitled to some revenge when given the (playing) opportunity. Right?

Things have changed now and so has the public sentiment. There was some resentment among fans last year when Du Plessis was clearly unhappy when subbed against the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth. Some felt he should have accepted the call from the coaches box and got on with it. Others felt that his actions were justified and he had every reason to feel aggrieved.
He was promised a start (which he got) and a full match (which he did not get), so had a reason to be unhappy, especially as he was playing out of his skin, reminding everyone how good he really is.

The 2012 season sees Heyneke Meyer in charge at the Boks and Du Plessis uncontested at the Sharks.

I know Meyer rates Du Plessis highly, but I also know that he will have a serious look at the Bulls' Chiliboy Ralepelle and Cheetahs No 2 Adriaan Strauss, two players he also rates greatly.

What concerned me on the weekend was the way in which Du Plessis went about his business. He was ill-disciplined, gave away crucial penalties (which ultimately cost his team the match) and one could hardly distinguish the line between his robust and his dirty play.

This was not the type of performance expected from South Africa’s (and possibly the world’s) premier hooker. Especially as across from him, Ralepelle delivered a very impressive and smooth performance.

No off the ball stuff, no unnecessary penalties, no arguing with the referee, no back chat, nothing. Ralepelle produced a professional performance, Du Plessis did not.

If someone not familiar with South African rugby visited Loftus last weekend, he probably would have described Ralepelle’s performance as polished and that of Du Plessis as rugged and full of potential.

Yet, by now, after 82 Super Rugby Caps and 42 Test matches, we need to see mature performances by Du Plessis every time.

He is our best hooker and with that comes a certain responsibility. I have interviewed Du Plessis many times in his career and he is a well rounded young man off the field.
It is now time we see a statesmanlike and professional performance from him every time he takes the field.

Being number one now demands that of him.

The Bok coach doesn’t owe any player anything and does not take kindly to stupid and ill-disciplined play.

Strauss and Ralepelle should be Meyer’s back-up hookers, but if Du Plessis does not get his act together, either could easily start for Meyer.

Unfortunately for Stormers hooker Deon Fourie, his injury could cost him dearly, as a delayed start to Super Rugby was the last thing he needed.

Lions No 2 Bandise Maku is another one who could have featured in Meyer’s plans as he is rated as well by his former Bulls mentor.

Read JJ every Sunday in Rapport.

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  • Christopher - 2012-03-01 14:24

    Where are Craig Burden and Tiaan Liebenberg in the pecking order JJ? Both are very dynamic runners and will Schalk Brits get a look-in in your opinion??

      Henri - 2012-03-01 14:35

      Ha ha ha ha ek kan nie wag vir die naweek se clash nie, die pienk koeie teen die cheetahs, o dit gaan n lekker grap wees om daai pienk meisies op die veld te sien, en dit nog in die boere stad

      Jan - 2012-03-01 16:41

      Ja die grap is op jou. Die pink truie is vir oorsee.

  • Rene - 2012-03-01 14:24

    Until Bissie gets his discipline (emotions) in order, Chili is the no 1 hooker.

      Deon - 2012-03-01 15:02

      ....i dont think he is even in the same class as ' far!'

      Marcel - 2012-03-01 15:04

      only the bulls will say that.

      Rene - 2012-03-01 15:13

      @Marcel, I think Chili was the better player last Friday night, take those 'black @ white' classes off. I rate Bissie, but he is a liability the way he is offering points to the other teams. You cannot argue against that!

      Gert - 2012-03-01 15:43

      Chili can play the role of extra fetcher just as easy as Bismark. And he does it without all the off the ball stuff. Just gets in there and takes the ball. The doesn't even know his there.

      Rene - 2012-03-01 16:07

      @Bloues @BlueRaven, I really don't mind if the other teams underestimate him!! He has become a brilliant player! Then the other guys have the audacity to call us 'one eyed' supporters!

      S - 2012-03-01 16:13

      For once I agree with the Bulls fans. Chili is much better than Bismarck (and so is Strauss, for that matter). Bismarck is a yellow or red card waiting to happen. I feel sorry for Bismarck. When he was undoubtedly the No 1 hooker in the country, his career was being blocked by Barney the Dinosaur. Now that his way is open, it seems that he is prematurely past his prime.

  • Lionel - 2012-03-01 14:27

    I have always been a Bissie fan but JJ is right for once,his temper and discipline is gonna cost him dearly. To be quite honest he was out played Sat by Chilliboy!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Gavin - 2012-03-01 14:33

      Wow Lionel, here we seem to agree 100%

      Lionel - 2012-03-01 14:41

      Miracles do happen,hey

  • Bulldozer - 2012-03-01 14:32

    Ek hoop die Sharks wen Saterdag, maar ook dat hierdie vuilgat aap sy gat sien.

      Lionel - 2012-03-01 14:43

      Ek hoop ook dat die vuilgat sy gat sien maar ek hoop die Stormers wen,ek se maar net

  • David - 2012-03-01 14:54

    Meyer has said he values discipline very highly - on and off the field. Bissie is probably the best #2 in the world, but he seriously needs to look at his attitude.

      Marcus - 2012-03-01 17:00

      Bismarck does not do the fundamentals well enough to be the best. There are nearly a dozen better hookers outside of South Africa who are better than him at present. His discipline is a very big problem, but not his only flaw by a long way. All he offers is raw brute strength, but has very poor technique which foreigners negate with ease.

  • Colin - 2012-03-01 15:37

    Bismark is the same player he has always been, a glamour boy whos opinion of himself is much larger than his ability. He got his name by bieng the victim, and acting out the part. This man/boy was never and will never be half the consumate professional that was John Smit. IMHO he is at best at the moment no. 3 or 4 in the country. And I'm a sharks fan.du Plessis Jnr should get a slap from his older brother for brinning the family into disrepute. His attidute brings to mind another "YOUT" who has just recieved the same.

      Marcus - 2012-03-01 17:01

      You hit quite a few nerves there, but you are absolutely one hundred percent correct! You are a rare breed of intelligent South African who does not need to be told what to think.

  • Gert - 2012-03-01 15:40

    Pam paddie dampam, pampam!

  • Francois - 2012-03-01 15:42

    Dieselfde ou wat se dat die wedstryd waarin die meeste driee gedruk is; nl Stormers vs Hurricanes; verlede naweek; was ook die saaiste!!! Beste om nie die ou se goed te lees nie. 1. Bismarck 2. Adriaan Strauss en dan n lang lys van moontlikes.

      Gregory - 2012-03-01 15:56

      Why not Chilli 2?

      Marcus - 2012-03-01 17:02

      Chiliboy outplayed Bismarck last year as well. Not simply round 1!

  • psm1th - 2012-03-01 15:59

    Both good hookers, and thank goodness we have them both available for the boks...

  • Gareth - 2012-03-01 16:22

    Biscuit is #1! everyone here knows it! you want someone plaing on the line! he will come back and be the BEST there has ever been!!! Craig Burden is also a extremely underrated hooker, BUT HE IS BRILLIANT! however, Chilli is and Strauss is only GREAT. but not the best.

      Marcus - 2012-03-01 17:03

      Keep dreaming. Bismarck has never been the best. At best he is 15th leading hooker at test level.

  • BlouMasjien - 2012-03-01 16:23

    Bissie ,Captain my Captain !

  • steven.chiaberta - 2012-03-01 16:38

    As a neutral Lions supporter, I think at his best, Bismark is the best hooker in the world. Chilli is getting better with every game he plays now that he's finally getting an extended run and is definitely world class now. With Bismark also finally getting consistent game time I get the impression he's been wanting it too badly for too long, and so being too hyped up and less disciplined in his first start or two was inevitable. But I think he'll be back to his best in the next week or 2. But I think it's like psm said - we're blessed to have both of them, and equally world class Strauss, available for the Boks.

  • steven.chiaberta - 2012-03-01 17:18

    As good a captain as Keegan Daniel seems to be, I seriously think the Sharks should give Bismark the captaincy. That would force him to set an example - be more disciplined, channel his aggro properly etc - and that would massively benefit SA rugby in general.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-01 17:53

      Keegan and Bismark are not captains bums. Both too stupid and too hot headed.

      Bulldozer - 2012-03-01 20:09

      Not one of them know the rules, for starters. They proved it last week against the Bulls.

  • Marius - 2012-03-01 18:27

    i just totally lost it with the whole S.A rugby public in general. just last year Bismarck was our world cup messiah, trumping the so called fat slow useless John Smit on all levels. now this fing plonker suddenly changes his mind stating that Ralapelle (read the author is biased to the Bulls) is the premiere hooker in the country, and everybody just sings along? WTF?? Bismarck was a bloody loose cannon year, a yellow on two legs, and McCaw being street smart would have that become a red, yet he was our messiah who without we would surely lose the cup... so what the hell changed? or did the mindless zombie sheep get a new tune to spin to? my heart goes out to Smit thou, taking all that crap from all these sheep, and still being such a great servant of the game. just a thought, without Jannie and beast next to him, Bismarck isn't a third as good as he is rated. just a brute who happens to have been mentored by one of the worlds absolute best hookers (and captain, also human being) ever to wear the green and gold.

      Bootman - 2012-03-01 19:07

      Marius I agree with 100%. The sad part is that there was only one person who could see this and was lambasted for it. PDV. He knew what he had in John Smit and he used it well. I have to admit though. I also thought PDV was crazy for playing JS ahead of Bissie. My opinion however changed when the Boks played NZ in PE last year. When Bissie got subbed, he showed the ugly side of himself. An ugly side that I would'nt want to see on the playing field. An ugly side that could cost us a game.

      David - 2012-03-02 09:53

      I'm a big Smit fan, pity about the abuse he received towards the end. Both Bismarck and Chilliboy are briliant and regardless of who plays, they will get the job done well. Bissies hot-headedness is an issue but like Schalk, it can be fixed. It's ridiculous though how fickle people are. Let's just appreciate how many seriously good hookers we have.

  • steven.chiaberta - 2012-03-01 18:42

    Marius, I couldn't agree with you more about John Smit, but I still think that when Bismark's at his best he's the best hooker on the planet.

  • Vincent - 2012-03-01 20:14

    kan maar net lag vir al die kommentaar...ek is n blou bul deur en deur! Almal se die bulle sleg oor hulle pienk truie JULLE moet pasop ons skop nie julle gatte met daai pienk truie nie!!

  • Nick - 2012-03-02 11:44

    another useless article if meyer stick to what he said he would and get best possible players for boks regardless where in the world they're playing then there is only 1 hooker and that is Brits

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