Sharks coach Gary Gold has not condoned Bismark du Plessis’s Red Card offence but he has come to the support of his physical captain’s firey nature.
The Sharks captain was shown a Red Card in his team’s 1 point victory against the Chiefs in Durban on Saturday for kicking Michael Leitch’s head.
This came only a few minutes after the opposition hooker, Hika Elliot, was sent for an early shower for an illegal clean-out on Tendai Mtawarira in the 1st half.
Du Plessis is already well known as an incredibly abrasive and physical character on the field, but more and more it seems that teams are figuring out he has a short fuse.
Gold made it clear that what Du Plessis did to earn his Red Card was silly and he did not justify the foul play.
“I am not going to justify foul play, it is silly to do that,” Gold said after the match.
“I feel it was a silly thing for Bismarck to do, he lashed out from trying to free his foot – but you cannot make contact with someone’s head.
“For what it is worth, he has apologized to the group, and in his words he said he is ashamed by his behaviour.”
The coach may not have condoned the foul play, but he did defend Du Plessis’ playing style and his physical approach that seems to landed him in hot water on a few occasions.
“Bizzy is a firey character, and by his own admission he made a mistake,” Gold continued.
“I do not think that there was malice for him to go and kick a guy in the face, I think he was just trying to free his foot.”
There have been questions raised about the Sharks captain’s short fuse and if perhaps other teams are starting to target his temper to their benefit.
Gold agreed that Du Plessis has been targeted a few times but was at pains to point out the times where the firey hooker has kept his cool in tough situations.
“I certainly felt at Loftus he was targeted by Victor, and we had a conversation with him about that,” Gold said in defence of his star hooker.
“I feel there is a lot of times that we don’t see where he does actually keep his cool.
“I don’t feel I have to sit here and defend Bismarck, but I choose too because there are a lot of incidents where he does get targeted.
“He is a great player, a physical player in a physical game.
“I do think that he does get targeted a lot off the ball, but that has nothing to do with today (Saturday – against the Chiefs), today was an error by his own admission and we will have to suffer the consequences – whatever that will be.”
On discussing the consequences of the poor discipline, Gold was hopeful that centre Frans Steyn may escape sanction from his Red Card offence due to the circumstances around the Aaron Cruden tip-tackle.
“We need to see what will happen with Frans’ Red Card and how that will be managed,” Gold added.
“If the authorities also feel the way Marius Jonker (the TMO on the day) felt, that it could potentially have been a Yellow, things might be different.
“I understand that there was no malice in that and I hope that they feel his punishment has fitted the crime already.
“But I might be being a little bit over optimistic then.”