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Bismarck du Plessis

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Heyneke Meyer

Heyneke Meyer

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will announce an interim captain for South Africa on Tuesday.

Even though there’s been no formal confirmation, the fact that a media briefing has been scheduled to name an ‘interim’ captain confirms that current stand-in captain Victor Matfield will not play against New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.

Matfield, who suffered a hamstring injury in the 1st half of last week’s 20 / 24 loss to Australia’s Wallabies in Brisbane, was standing in for the injured captain Jean de Villiers.

And Meyer has made it very clear that De Villiers won’t be considered this week.

So who are the candidates in the current Springbok squad?

The front-runners, surely, are Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss – with Bryan Habana, Patrick Lambie and Warren Whiteley at long-odds.

If you really want to stir the pot, why not throw Flip van der Merwe’s name in there – seeing as he is now ‘available’ again.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jake White

Jake White

World Cup winning coach Jake White has formally welcomed the Du Plessis brothers, Jannie and Bismarck, to his French club Montpellier.

The Top 14 outfit on Wednesday confirmed the signing of the Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, from the Cell C Sharks.

In a brief statement on the club website Montpellier said the 2 Du Plessis brother had signed for 3 years.

The 2, who won the World Cup with White as coach in 2007, will head to France after this year’s edition of the World Cup – in England in September and October.

White welcomed the signing of the Springbok duo.

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Cell C SharksAlthough it may not be the last time we see the likes of Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis at Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Saturday’s match against the Stormers may well be their last in the colours of the Cell C Sharks.

Whilst hinting that ‘you never know what might happen in the future’, Bismarck du Plessis has paid a tribute to the team where he has played all his professional rugby, and will, on Saturday, run out together with brother Jannie and their Sharks’ brother Beast Mtawarira in their final hurrah as one of world rugby’s most formidable front rows.

It will also be the last time to see ‘The Bone Collector’ – Willem Alberts – who will also feature in his last match for the Durban side.

Loathe to make this match about himself, Bismarck this week spoke of avoiding the limelight, explaining, “I don’t play for any accolades, I just play for my teammates and the respect I have for the guys who play with me.

“This is going to be a very sad day to be leaving The Sharks, I guess I never thought this day would arrive. I’m a Sharks boy through and through, I love the Sharks with all my heart.”

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Willem Alberts

Willem Alberts

The Cell C Sharks officially confirm the departure of Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis as well as Willem Alberts, who will be playing their final match for the Cell C Sharks this Saturday.

Bismarck’s career at the Cell C Sharks is now in its 11th year, having made his senior rugby debut when he joined the Durban franchise in 2005. To date he is the most capped Sharks player ever at Super Rugby level, with 129 appearances. He has also accumulated 39 ABSA Currie Cup caps, the number reflective of his Springbok duties where he has represented South Africa 70 times.

Jannie joined The Sharks in 2008 after representing the Cheetahs between 2004 and 2007. He has appeared 117 times for the Cell C Sharks at Super Rugby level and has 62 Test match appearances behind him.

They both played in 2 Rugby World Cups – in 2007 and 2011 – and together share the record (42) for most Springbok Tests as brothers.

Willem made his debut for the Cell C Sharks in 2010 after moving to Durban from the Lions and has accumulated a total of 91 appearances (72 in Super Rugby and 19 in the ABSA Currie Cup competition) as well as 32 Springbok caps.

These 3 players have been an influential and valued part of the Cell C Sharks set-up and despite Management’s best efforts; we have been unable to re-secure their services moving forward.

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Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

The Du Plessis brothers, Bismarck and Jannie, are set to sign a deal with French club Montpellier, a report in French media indicates.

Reports surfaced earlier this year that the Springbok brothers would join Montpellier on a 2-year deal after the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but Montpellier denied it at the time.

However, according to RMC Sport, the double signing of the Sharks duo is expected to be announced in the coming days.

The Du Plessis brothers are believed to have respected their earlier commitment despite having some contact with Toulon.

Montpellier are coached by former Springbok coach Jake White, who was quoted as saying after their weekend defeat at Stade Francais: “Big names will be announced in the coming days. To win the Top 14, you need the best players in the world.”

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Cell C SharksThe Cell C Sharks tackle the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday morning (09:35 SA Time) in the 1st of 4 overseas assignments in their Vodacom Super Rugby tour to New Zealand and Australia.

They enjoyed their 1st BYE last weekend after 10 Rounds of consecutive games and a refreshed squad is ready for the challenge that lies ahead.

Director of Rugby Gary Gold warns that the 6th-placed Highlanders, current qualifiers (and hopeful of remaining that way) and a dangerous attacking side, are worthy of strong respect.

“They have real game-breakers and it’s going to be a huge challenge for us on Friday,” he admits.

“I don’t think it gets much tougher than what we have coming on Friday.”

He has welcomed back hooker Bismarck du Plessis, lock Stephan Lewies and JP Pietersen into the starting line-up, all 3 Springboks bolstering the side.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

The Cell C Harks website reports that Bismarck du Plessis returns to the Cell C Sharks this weekend after serving a period of time away from the game, but, by his own noble request, will not be selected as captain for the match against the Highlanders.

“The situation is this,” explains Director of Rugby Gary Gold: “Bismarck has shown incredible humility about his personal situation over the past month and he feels that he just wants to get back into the Cell C Sharks team and make as big an impact as he can.

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

Coach Gary Gold, Cell C Sharks Director of Rugby, has said his suspended players owe the team a lot when they return from their respective bans on the Sharks’ overseas tour.

Captain Bismarck du Plessis has officially served out his 4-week ban as of 18 April. His final suspension weekend was against the Bulls last Saturday.

Du Plessis will be available for the 1st game against the Highlanders in a fortnight, after the Sharks BYE this week.

Centre Frans Steyn’s ban comes to an end on 3 May, which would mean that the Springbok would be unavailable for the 1st tour match.

Coach Gold, looking ahead to their tour after a loss to the Bulls on the weekend, was hopeful that the return of his 2 super stars would allow them a chance to right the wrongs they have caused the team.

“I certainly hope that it will be a shot at redemption for those guys coming back,” Gold said of both Du Plessis and Steyn.

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

Cell C Sharks coach Gary Gold has said there is no ill-discipline rot in Durban and that the multiple Red Cards this season have been isolated incidents.

The Sharks were punished by a determined Crusaders side 52 / 10 on Saturday, and if 2 tries against them in the 1st 5 minutes did not spell out the end for the home team, Jean Deysel’s Red Card most certainly did.

The Sharks have now seen 3 Red Cards in 3 games, starting with captain Bismarck du Plessis being sent off for lashing out against the Chiefs, and Frans Steyn joining him on the sidelines for a tip tackle in the same game.

This week, another one of the Sharks’ senior players in Jean Deysel, was handed a Red Card for a deliberate knee to a Crusaders player’s head.

Du Plessis was banned for 4 weeks, with Steyn out for 5 on appeal, after initially getting off scot free.

It remains to be seen what sanction Deysel will receive, but Gold maintains there is no trend developing.

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WhistleWith 7 Rounds of this years Super Rugby competition completed and much discussion in the various media regarding disciplinary hearings, we thought it would be interesting to look at the players’ records so far in conceding penalties.

The scrums have become an absolute lottery and so it is no surprise that front rowers will be giving away many penalties while loose forwards can also tend to ‘live life on the edge’. However, what is surprising, according to the stats, is that as many as 6 props names appear in the Top 10 list of serial transgressors thus far this season.

2 Players who have been discussed quite a lot lately, Bismarck du Plessis and Liam Messam also appear on the list, which is disappointing considering they are the captains of their teams. Perhaps it is no surprise then that the match between the Sharks and Chiefs turned out to be such a nasty affair. Interestingly though a 3rd player who has been discussed over and over again, Francois Steyn, is not in this Top 10.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

SANZAR, the controlling body for Southern Hemisphere rugby, moved swiftly to defuse the storm that erupted in the wake of Springbok Francois Steyn’s 5-week ban.

A SANZAR appeals committee – chaired by Terry Willis (Australia), who was assisted by Nigel Hampton (New Zealand) and Robert Stelzner (South Africa) – slapped the ban on the Sharks utility back after a hearing earlier this week.

Steyn, who was Red-Carded for his lifting tackle on Aaron Cruden in the Sharks’ 12 / 11 win over the Chiefs on 21 March, was cleared by South African judicial officer Jannie Lubbe at the original hearing on 23 Match. He also expunged Steyn’s Red Card.

However, SANZAR felt strongly about the message sent out by the result of the original hearing and appealed.

That hearing, which took place on Tuesday this week, found Steyn guilty and suspended him up to, and including 3 May.

In reaction to the fall-out to their appeal and subsequent ban of Steyn, SANZAR said they felt Lubbe made a ‘clear error of fact and law’.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

The Cell C Sharks issued a Media Release today, regarding Bismarck du Plessis 4 week suspension for kicking an opponent in the face on Saturday, in the ill-tempered game between the Cell C Sharks and the Chiefs, in Durban.

It reads as follows:

Bismarck du Plessis today appeared in a SANZAR judicial hearing, following him being issued with a red card for foul play in the 18th minute of yesterday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at Growthpoint KINGS PARK.

Upon pleading guilty to the charge, SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden, handed du Plessis a four-week suspension.

In acceptance of the punishment handed to him by SANZAR, Bismarck du Plessis said: “I want to unreservedly apologise for my behaviour both as captain and a senior player. My actions were unacceptable and I fully accept the punishment handed down to me by SANZAR.

“I will use these four-weeks off the field to reflect on my actions as both a leader and role-model in the game. I am painfully aware that people have lost faith in my character and the values I claim to stand for. I intend to rectify that through actions going forward and not merely words.”

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Gary Gold

Gary Gold

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.”

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The SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden has accepted a guilty plea from Bismarck du Plessis of the Sharks for contravening Law 10.4 (c) A player must not kick an opponent, after he was sent off following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

Du Plessis has been suspended from all forms of the game for 4 weeks up to and including 18 April 2015.

The incident occurred in the 18th minute of the match between the Sharks and Chiefs played at Kings Park in Durban.

SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden assessed the case.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

The Cell C Sharks third round Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld proved to be a very physical encounter that was contested passionately by the respective teams on the day.

During the match there was an off the ball incident that took place involving Bismarck du Plessis and Victor Matfield. On reflection after the match, Bismarck realised that he acted inappropriately with his choice of language used and would like to apologise for his behaviour.

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Lubabalo 'Giant' Mtyanda

Lubabalo ‘Giant’ Mtyanda

The Cell C Sharks welcome back Bismarck du Plessis to the team to host the Lions at Growthpoint Kings Park in one of a handful of changes to last week’s side.

Director of Rugby, Gary Gold, explaining the rationale in making new selections, explains: “Due to injuries, we have had to necessitate a few changes to the team.

“Apart from those injury-enforced changes, we have tried to keep the team as consistent as possible, so that players have another opportunity to get the wrongs of the past weekend right.”

They will have to make do without the likes of wing S’bura Sithole, Mouritz Botha and Beast Mtawarira, but that opens the door of opportunity to Odwa Ndungane, debutant lock Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda and Dale Chadwick.

2 Very exciting young talents in Thomas du Toit and Andre Esterhuizen come onto the bench for this week’s match.

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Tendai 'Beast Mtawarira

Tendai ‘Beast Mtawarira

Lodewyk De Jager

Lodewyk de Jager

Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

We are just 1 week into the Super Rugby season and there is already a lengthy list of Springboks sidelined by injury.

With captain Jean de Villiers a non-starter thanks to a knee injury which has put a question mark over his availability for the World Cup, he has been joined by Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira, Lodewyk de Jager amd Julian Redelinghuys.

Etzebeth hurt his chest in a warm-up game against the Cheetahs at Newlands, and is only expected back in the 3rd round – the 3rd consecutive year he has missed the start of the competition.

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Mohed Altrad

Mohed Altrad

Montpellier president Mohed Altrad on Monday “categorically denied” reports of a deal to sign South African forwards Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis.

The brothers, various domestic media suggested, were due to join the Top 14 side after the conclusion of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in November on a two-year deal.

But Altrad said: “I categorically deny these reports.”

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Duane Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen

Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis as well as Duane Vermeulen will further their careers in France after this year’s Rugby World Cup, respected French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique has revealed.

According to the newspaper, the official announcement regarding Vermeulen will only be made in July.

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Cell C SharksThis is the second article in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2015.

The Sharks have had no change in hooker personnel since the 2014 Super Rugby season, but are very adequately covered in Bismarck du Plessis and Kyle Cooper, with further backup from Monde Hadebe.

We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.

In this Article we look at the contenders for HOOKERS in the Cell C Sharks 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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South AfricaIt is unlikely that the Springboks will rest a few key forwards for their year-end tour to Europe.

According to reports on Sunday, there will be no respite for stalwarts like Jannie du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Bismarck du Plessis and Duane Vermeulen as Boks aim to pick their best possible team for the tour.

The Boks play four Tests back-to-back against Ireland (Dublin, 8 November), England (London, 15 November), Italy (Padova, 22 November) and Wales (Cardiff, 29 November).

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis will start at hooker against the All Blacks

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be given as much time as possible to recover from injury while Bismarck du Plessis will start Saturday’s final round Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

This match will be Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’ 50th appearance in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, the most by any South African.

Vermeulen is recovering from a rib cartilage injury and if he doesn’t recover in time to face New Zealand, Schalk Burger will start in the No 8 jersey with Warren Whiteley coming onto the bench.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis

Their Castle Rugby Championship 2014 hopes having taken a stinging blow with that controversial, late loss to Australia, South Africa need to find an A-game against formidable New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday … and to have the best chance they must employ every A-grade player they can muster.

Bismarck du Plessis is one such character, his pedigree hardly disputed anywhere in the rugby world, and with others like Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie currently unavailable in berths where the Springbok are battling, it makes little sense to muzzle this particular pit-bull to a presence among the substitutes again.

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Willie le Roux

Springbok flyer, Willie le Roux

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux says he has settled in the role coach Heyneke Meyer has entrusted him with.

Le Roux has become a popular player in South Africa since making his Test debut against Italy in Durban in 2013.

His attacking influence has given the Springbok backline an expansive approach as he’s played a playmaker’s role in a number of tries scored over the past year. He’s also scored seven tries in his 17 appearances.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis has grown into the role of leader

The Cell C Sharks face a daunting task this weekend, there is no doubt about that, and not many will deny that the Crusaders at home are clear cut favorites.

Having to travel to New Zealand to face a Crusader side laden with 18 All Black players in their squad should spell defeat to the side from Durban.

During the build up to this weekend’s match, cliches aplenty will be bandied about and should include phrases like “backs to the wall”, “underdog”, “nothing to lose”. All true and apt, but therein lies the rub.

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Bismarck du Plessis

Winning is the autopilot setting for Bismarck du Plessis

The real Beast roaming around the Super Rugby rugby fields, is Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis.

The bloke next to him at loosehead prop, Tendai Mtawarira, is dubbed “the Beast” who provokes rumbling shows of affection from supporters when he heads off on a run.

His impact, though, is cosmetic compared with Du Plessis.

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Patrick Lambie

Pat Lambie receiving attention after tearing his bicep at Loftus

If reports coming out of the Shark’s press conference held today is to be believed, it would seem like the return of Pat Lambie is imminent. According to captain Bismarck Du Plessis, his return against the Highlanders will be a massive lift to their hopes of winning and progressing to the semi finals.

Lambie tore his bicep against the Bulls at Loftus on the 24th of March, and according to early diagnosis it was believed that he might be out for the rest of the Super Rugby season. Lambie has however recovered faster than expected and started traing with the Shark squad a few weeks ago already.

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Jean Deysel

Jean Deysel

The Cell C Sharks will field a team resting Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis and Willem Alberts (all on the bench)… and also still without Patrick Lambie, but with Jean Deysel captaining the side and Frans Steyn back in his favoured position of Inside Centre.

This of course means that Tim Swiel starts at Flyhalf, Dale Chadwick at loosehead prop, Kyle Cooper as starting hooker and Lourens Adriaanse as starting tighthead prop.

S’Bura Sithole is back at Outside centre and JP Pietersen moves back to Right wing, with SP Marais protecting the last vestage.

3 Other returning Springboks get starting positions, namely Marcell Coetzee, Stephan Lewies and Lwazi Mvovo.

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Jake White

Jake White

Cell C SharksJake White has hinted at a bold strategy to rest his returning Springboks with the Sharks having sewn up the South African conference and guaranteed some play-off rugby already.

The Sharks have an unassailable hold on the South African Conference and cannot finish the tournament any lower than third.

However, the plan is to finish in the top two and earn a direct route to a home semifinal without having to play a qualifying knock-out match.

White has indicated that if they are to really be competitive when it matters, it may require some tactical selection policies.

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Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Jake white has selected exactly the same team as last week that defeated the Blues in Auckland, thus taking no chances.

There was speculation of injuries and half-injuries and it was suggested that the injured players are Bismark du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Francois Steyn and S’Bura Sithole, yet they are all fit and ready for Saturday’s showdown with the ever improving Stormers at Growthpoint Kings P{ark  Stadium in Durban.

The only change made, is that of  Marcell Coetzee who returns from injury in place of Jacques Botes who drops out of the squad.

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Francois Steyn

Francois Steyn

South AfricaCell C Sharks backline star Frans Steyn is unlikely to feature for the Springboks in the June Internationals.

Steyn was one of 10 players who took no or little part in the field sessions at the Springbok training camp in Durban, which concluded on Wednesday.

Steyn has been suffering from a chronic knee dysfunction which has been managed by Sharks and upon a request from his franchise, the load on his knee was limited by keeping him out of training.

While the severity of the injury will only be confirmed later in the week, Steyn is expected to miss the June internationals. It is also possible that Steyn could miss the latter stages of Super Rugby, which would be a body blow to the Sharks.

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Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 013

Heyneke Meyer emotional and animated in the game between Wallabies vs Springboks, The Rugby Championship, Brisbane, 7 September 2013

The June Internationals are close at hand and Heyneke Meyer has already showed his hand to a certain extent by selecting a Springbok Training Group, which currently excludes players plying their trade in the UK and Europe.

The recent injury to Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, now determines that a  “Stand-in” Springbok captain will have to be selected and coupled to this the Springbok midfield positions are bound to be re-constituted.

Injuries to key players, specially flyhalf, as well as the 3-match suspension of Adriaan Strauss at hooker will see some juggling around of the match-day 23 and some very clear thinking will be required by Heyneke Meyer to address these issues.

We take a look at the Springbok Captaincy candidates as well as midfield combination and look at hooker options to function as back-up to Bismarck du Plessis.

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Bismarck du PlessisJannie du PlessisCell C SharksThey are strong, generally popular characters of the international rugby landscape and that is never a bad thing … but do brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis take interaction with referees a bit too far?

The voices of the two Sharks front-rankers have been among the most consistently audible to mass audiences this season as far as spirited dialogue with Super Rugby officials is concerned.

Shrinks (and may I cheekily add, at the risk of generalisation, wives and girlfriends?) will tell you that communication is healthy.

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Cell C SharksBismarck du PlessisNew Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis will be counting on the support of his predecessor Keegan Daniel in the pre-season friendly against English club Saracens in London on Saturday.

The Springbok hooker, who was the natural choice by incoming director of rugby Jake White, said he had the full backing of the former skipper following the change of leadership last week.

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