Bismarck's Bok future in doubt?

2016-05-31 07:00
Bismarck du Plessis (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Adriaan Strauss's appointment as Springbok captain is short-term at this stage, and he has only been put in charge of the June internationals against Ireland. 

But listening to coach Allister Coetzee speak on Monday, it was clear that he is very open to the idea of Strauss taking on the role in a more permanent capacity. 

"Although he knows that this is the position for the Inbound series, I’ve got no doubt that it could become a long-term appointment as well," Coetzee said.

In the couple of times Coetzee has spoken about his captaincy, he has been clear that he wants his skipper to be a match-winner before anything else. 

"The captain has to ensure that the Springboks win Test matches," he has said repeatedly. 

There is little time for sentiment, and Coetzee is favouring on-field ability over leadership quality. 

The fact that Strauss is certain to start against Ireland on June 11 perhaps swung the decision his way, while the likes of Pat Lambie and Warren Whiteley are no guarantees. 

"The appointment was the right one. I’m pleased. I’m satisfied and I’ve got all the faith in the captain," Coetzee added.

"I believe Adriaan has paid his dues. He’s come through the mill. He’s represented South Africa from U-19 to U-21 through to the Springboks.

"He’s been vice-captain of South Africa before and he is the right man for the job."

But what would a long-term Strauss captaincy mean for Montpellier-based Bismarck du Plessis? 

Sine 2008 when he made his debut, Strauss has spent a large part of his career in Du Plessis's shadow. 

That is highlighted by the fact that he has started just 23 of his 54 caps.

Now, though, it appears that Strauss has finally come into his own.

"Myself and Bismarck, we shared some time," said Strauss.

"A lot of the time I was on the bench. I also think the competition was good and healthy … it will be the same now and it always brings out the best in players.

"Playing good rugby will definitely be the main focus and staying true to myself and the way that I lead will also be the focus."

Strauss's potential long-term captaincy, combined with Coetzee's reluctancy to pick overseas-based players, makes Du Plessis's future even murkier. 

Now 32 years-old, the 79-Test veteran is contracted to play for Montpellier until 2018. 

The French season will be over by the time the Rugby Championship begins towards the end of August, and that could be a major moment in Du Plessis's career. 

If he is not called up to that squad, then it is hard to see him featuring in the green and gold again. 

The other two hookers in the current Bok squad are Bongi Mbonambi and Scarra Ntubeni, who Coetzee worked with during his time at the Stormers. 


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