Bismarck du Plessis

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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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Cell C SharksBismarck du PlessisCell C Sharks Director of Rugby, Jake White, on Thursday announced that Springbok hooker, Bismarck du Plessis, will captain the Cell C Sharks in 2014.

Regarded as one of the best hookers in the world, Bismarck has been colossal figure for the Cell C Sharks over the years. With 103 Vodacom Super Rugby appearances to his name, he is a player who leads by example and is well respected by the team.

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SharksThis is the second article in the series of Cell C Sharks Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.

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 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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2013The year was full of spectacular moments and performances as well as disappointing lows and infamous incidents; we name and shame the best and worst in our 2013 Awards.

New Zealand and Wales ruled their respective hemispheres for the second successive year, the All Blacks enjoying a flawless 2013 campaign.

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Bismarck du PlessisEben EtzebethFrancois LouwJean de VilliersWillie le RouxRugby fans can start voting for their own International Player of the Year and World XV of the Year following the release of a 45-strong shortlist of contenders.

Part of the inaugural Ultimate Rugby IRPA Awards, the Fans’ Player of the Year, and World XV of the Year will be decided by votes cast on Ultimate Rugby’s mobile app, and announced in conjunction with other category winners on November 26.

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Spiro ZavosProbably the most biased rugby writer in world rugby, Spiro Zavos (writes for the Sydney Morning Herald), has described Springbok Rugby as “Thugby”.

Come on Spiros, I have a special toffee that I would like to show you in person… this is a family website, after all.

Anybody who takes Spiros’ ramblings with more than a pinch of salt, lowers him or herself to the lowest COMMON (pun intended) denominator. The man is a legend… in his own mind only!

Come on Spiros, surely you are better than that…

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Bismarck du PlessisBismarck du Plessis is not likely to start when the Springboks name their side to face the Wallabies in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match at Newlands on September 28.

Du Plessis, who has faced a torrid week after being incorrectly red-carded by French referee Romain Poite in Auckland last weekend, is set to be on the bench when the Boks resume their chase for the title next week.

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South AfricaJurie RouxThe South African Rugby Union has spiritedly knocked back suggestions that it did not take a powerful enough stance following the “Bismarck du Plessis affair” in the Castle Rugby Championship Test between New Zealand and South Africa in Auckland.

The Springbok hooker has subsequently had his controversial red card, issued by French referee Romain Poite at Eden Park on Saturday, erased by a SANZAR judicial officer, and he is clear to represent the country against the Wallabies if chosen at Newlands on Saturday week.

But some domestic critics and fans have raged that it is “too little too late” as the dismissal of Du Plessis badly dented the Boks’ prospects of winning at their long-time bogey venue; the All Blacks eventually won 29-15.

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