Jannie du Plessis
Strange as it may seem considering the hype beforehand over “emotional Springbok swansongs” in the bronze playoff match at Rugby World Cup 2015, only 1 member of the squad at the tournament, captain Jean de Villiers, has officially confirmed his Test retirement.
Several younger Springboks spoke beforehand of their desire to beat Argentina – a task duly achieved – as a fitting send-off for senior players bidding farewell to the green-and-gold cause.
Almost 2 weeks on from the end of the Rugby World Cup, however, it is still only the luckless Jean de Villiers, injured again in just the 2nd Rugby World Cup match against Samoa, who has definitely bowed out after 109 appearances since 2002.
Perhaps influenced by the state of flux surrounding embattled coach Heyneke Meyer, the likes of Victor Matfield, Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana intriguingly haven’t yet pulled the plug publicly on their illustrious Springbok careers.
The majority of “older” Springboks who took part in their hot-and-cold Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign are now exclusively foreign-based and there have been some pleas back home for only locally-stationed players to be chosen for South Africa henceforth – a tricky matter considering the ever-shrinking strength of the Rand against other currencies, which hardly helps keeps the best players rooted here.
The Springboks are likely to be at full strength when coach Heyneke Meyer picks his team to face Wales in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarterfinal at Twickenham.
The Springboks reunited after going their separate ways for 4 days with their wives and girlfriends, exploring all parts of London – with 1 or 2 even heading across to France for their recess, and it was apparent that the Springboks would be able to select from all 31 in the squad when they make their team announcement on Wednesday.
While there were no new injuries, it seems Bok veterans JP Pietersen and Victor Matfield could also be fit for selection after overcoming their injuries that kept them out of the USA game.
Another player who missed that match, Jannie du Plessis, is also set to be fit for selection when the team is decided upon.
Jannie du Plessis is telling the story of the day the Springboks decided to change their entire lineout book in the build-up to Saturday’s World Cup match with Scotland.
The tighthead prop, with 66 caps packed into his near-33 years, bows his head and laughs.
“It was Monday. Black Monday,” he explains.
“Our forwards coach came in and said, ‘OK, on the weekend Scotland will have Josh Strauss and WP Nel in their team. We respect them as rugby players and we respect their ability to understand lineout calls in Afrikaans. So we’re changing our calls.’
“We said, ‘What? All of them?’ Our coach said, ‘Yes, every one. We start today.’ There was more than 1 sigh of frustration in that room, I can tell you. We were saying, ‘No! How am I going to learn all of this in a week!’ Maybe it’s a blessing. We made so many mistakes with the old ones. Maybe we needed to change anyway.”
With the Rugby World Cup match against Samoa being called “brutal” by Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, Jean de Villiers is heading home and out of the Rugby World Cup with a fractured jaw, while a long list of injuries will be assessed on Monday by the team doctor as the team start to prepare for their showdown with Scotland.
Prop Jannie du Plessis (knee), midfielders Damian de Allende (knee) and Jesse Kriel (laceration to the eye), lock Victor Matfield and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez all are on the injury list.
Depending on how they heal overnight, they should all hopefully be declared fit for the Scottish game.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Tuesday applauded the work done by the national team’s medical, strength and conditioning staff to get the squad fit and ready for the Rugby World Cup.
Each member of the 31-man squad took part in most of the field sessions on Monday and Tuesday in Durban, including Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw.
The training camp in Durban concludes on Wednesday and the players and management will get together again in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon. The squad departs for England on Friday 11 September.
“We’re confident that all of the players will be fit to be considered for selection for our opening match against Japan in Brighton on 19 September,” said Meyer.
The Springboks will be without tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis and flanker Francois Louw when they face Argentina’s Los Pumas in Durban next Saturday, but the Springboks could have Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts back while at this stage their medical team is optimistic of delivering a fully fit squad to the selectors for the Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.
De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are 3 of 7 players whose fitness will be assessed on Monday as they complete the final phase of rehabilitation while players such as Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen are progressing well with their rehabilitation.
Although Du Plessis (knee) and Louw (rotator cuff), along with Victor Matfield and JP Pietersen (both hamstring injuries) will miss the Tests against the Pumas, none of these injuries will put their Rugby World Cup participation at risk. Saturday’s other injury victims, Vincent Koch and Warren Whiteley (rib cartilages) should be fit and available for selection next weekend.
Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Steven Kitshoff (knee) will also be assessed on Monday with a view to being available to selection against the Pumas.
Examination of The Rugby Championship table with just 1 Round to go hardly suggests the Springboks may be inching spiritedly toward a prosperous new era.
South Africa lie 3rd, winless, and already out of the running: when they tackle Argentina in Durban in just under a fortnight it will simply be a battle to avoid the wooden spoon as the Wallabies and All Blacks slug it out for title glory a few hours earlier in Sydney.
Fortunately it had been widely accepted by the most astute of rugby observers before the 2015 tournament even began that its bragging rights are of secondary importance this year, given the scheduling just a few weeks shy of the 8th World Cup in the United Kingdom.
Local enthusiasts prepared to prioritise the bigger picture will also be fully aware that the Springboks could so easily be lying at the top of The Rugby Championship pile right now, as they bossed the Wallabies for 50 minutes in Brisbane and then the All Blacks for considerably closer to 70 minutes in Johannesburg on Saturday.
If rugby is a game of inches, then Tevita Kuridrani’s debated, last-gasp try made the critical difference 2 weeks back and Lood de Jager not being able to stretch his lunging arm just a couple of centimetres further against the All Blacks for a 55th-minute Springbok touchdown possibly denied them in the latest instance.
In the final analysis, lack of composure and 1 or 2 errors in tactical decision-making at vital times by a rookie-laden team thwarted them more than anything else on Saturday – it was not as though the Springboks looked light years behind for pure competence and skill in either instance, and that is a firm plus to bank in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup.
Perhaps also, a cranked-up emphasis on conditioning and durability will work wonders over the next couple of months as Heyneke Meyer’s charges get progressively used to the new ball-in-hand culture they are embracing with some gusto and swelling promise.
The Springboks have called Flip van der Merwe into their squad but are sweating over the fitness of Victor Matfield and Marcell Coetzee for Saturday’s clash with New Zealand.
Both players were forced to leave the field last Saturday against Australia – Matfield with a hamstring strain and Coetzee with a knock to his knee. According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts a call on the players’ availability in Johannesburg will only be made later in the week.
“Both are doubtful to play this weekend, but luckily neither of them are in doubt to miss the Rugby World Cup,” said Roberts on Monday.
“Jannie du Plessis and Schalk Burger also picked up knocks in Brisbane on Saturday and we will reassess them at our 1st training session of the week, on Tuesday. Apart from a lot of bumps and bruises, the rest of the squad should be fit for selection.”
The other injured players in the Springbok squad, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts and Frans Steyn are not yet ready to be considered this weekend, Roberts added.
Pieter-Steph du Toit joined the squad in Johannesburg later on Monday and his progress will also be reassessed. With only 3 fit locks left in the squad, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to call up the experienced Van der Merwe.
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.
Although 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.”
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.
Melbourne Rebel prop Laurie Weeks is facing a lengthy ban in the wake of his brain explosion against the Cell C Sharks at the weekend.
Weeks was handed a Red Card in his team’s 21 / 25 loss to the Sharks in Durban on Friday.
The Rebels prop launched a flurry of punches on Sharks rival Jannie du Plessis, after the latter had slapped him with an open hand against the back of the head.
Du Plessis was Yellow-Carded for his part in the ensuing fracas, which happened just short of the half-hour mark, while Weeks was shown a Red Card for landing about 10 punches on various parts of Du Plessis’ head.
Weeks will be have to appear before a judicial officer and will be charged with having contravened Law 10.4 (a): Punching or striking.
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.”
The Cell C Sharks team named to play the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday shows nominal changes to the side that was picked last weekend, with 2 Springbok additions.
The only changes to the starting 15 are in a front row that this week features the Springbok prop duo of Jannie du Plessis and Beast Mtawarira, who return after an enforced rest last week as part of the agreement with the Springboks to provide regular breaks to the players.
Marco Wentzel retains the captaincy of a side that will look to build from the positives they took out of their clash with the Lions last weekend. The backline remains unchanged.
With the prospect of facing the Highlanders and Hurricanes in New Zealand and the Waratahs and Reds in Australia before returning to Durban for 2 final home games, Saturday’s derby against the Bulls comes at a vital time.
The return of the 2 experienced Springbok props, Beast Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis, are the only things that the Vodacom Bulls should take for granted about the Cell C Sharks team they will clash with in their Super Rugby derby in Durban at the weekend.
The Sharks did not train on Monday, as was the case the previous week, and at Tuesday’s training session those who watched it struggled to make out what director of rugby Gary Gold is planning for Saturday – except that the 2 Bok props will definitely be back.
No 8 Ryan Kankowski missed last week’s clash with the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg after pulling out following the captain’s practice. He is fit to face the Bulls but apparently he and Renaldo Bothma, who played at No 8 against the Lions and did well there, rotated during the training session. It is also not clear if JP Pietersen, the other fit Bok to miss the Lions clash, will be back in the starting team.
What does appear clear is that hooker Kyle Cooper and fullback SP Marais, 2 stalwart foot soldiers at the Sharks over the past few seasons, have fallen out of favour. Even though Bismarck du Plessis is out suspended and will be for another week, Cooper did not feature in the match day 23 last week – and it looks like he will miss out again for the Bulls.
Cell C Sharks boss Gary Gold said if he had the choice he would not be resting veteran Springboks Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira against a formidable Lions scrum this weekend.
Gold has made a number of changes to the team that will travel up to Johannesburg to take on South Africa’s form team this weekend.
Some of these changes are enforced due to injury, some because of suspension and others the result of a selection rethink.
However, Gold seems least pleased about the fact that he needs to rest his key front row Springboks in accordance with SARU’s player management initiative.
“If I had an opportunity to play Jannie and Beast this weekend, I would,” Gold said ahead of the trip up to Ellis Park.
“These are decisions that were made at a higher level, and as bizarre as they are, they were made, and as much as I can stick to them, I am going to try and stick to them.”
Jannie du Plessis may not have been involved in the weekend’s scrumming massacre at the hands of the Stormers, but he has examined the evidence and given his diagnosis on what went wrong.
The Sharks efforts against the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday steadily disintegrated as the game went on.
Their set piece meltdown culminated in three tightheads over a period of 15 minutes.
Du Plessis might not have had a front-row seat on Saturday’s proceeding, but he did manage to get his hands on a video which he scrutinized at length.
“I was certainly not expecting it (conceding three tightheads in 15 minutes),” the Springbok tighthead said.
“We had prepared really well, but there are a few technical things that went wrong.
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.”
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.
In the first week of discussion of Super Rugby squad contenders for 2015 (17 to 24 December), we will discuss 2 positions in seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) and also seperate the Articles of the 5 SA Super Rugby participating franchises.
That means 10 Super Rugby Articles every week from now on.
The basic idea is to discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the Cell C Sharks 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis has not recovered from a hamstring injury and will miss their final tour game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
Du Plessis sustained the injury against England at Twickenham on 15 November and missed this past weekend’s game against Italy in Padua (Padova).
He was expected to be back for the Wales Test, but needs more time on the sidelines.
Warren Whiteley picked up a calf injury during training recently and also has not recovered sufficiently to play in the final Test against Wales on Saturday.
Golden Lions prop Ruan Dreyer has been called up to the Springbok squad as injury cover for Jannie du Plessis.
Dreyer will join the squad in Italy as soon as his travel arrangements have been made.
Du Plessis left the field during the Springboks’ 31-28 victory over England at Twickenham on Saturday.
It 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).
The scrumming travails that dominated the headlines and media copy after the two Castle Rugby Championship matches against Argentina are now behind the Springboks and quickly receding from memory, according to their scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.
The unedifying sight of the much vaunted Bok scrum backpedalling in the Salta match against the Pumas, as well to some extent as the game before that at Loftus, precipitated a wave of panic among South African supporters.
You can blame the goal kicker, you can blame the concession of daft technical penalties or a single colossal blunder at the wrong time.
It’s hard to argue. But the single main reason why Argentina’s strong men could dominate South Africa the other weekend and still end up losing was the train of Springbok replacements.
Coach Heyneke Meyer hooked beaten players from the pitch and sent on an eager second wave of men like Adriaan Strauss and Tendai ‘the Beast’ Mtawarira.
There was nothing surprising about Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn focusing on the scrum as he prepared to depart with the squad at the weekend for what will be a testing Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
The scrumming was not the only area of concern for the Boks during the June internationals and in the two Championship matches against Argentina.
But it was an aspect that fell short both against Wales and the Pumas, and those who know the South African rugby psyche, will understand the ripple effect that the scrumming humiliation at the hands of Argentina in Salta would have sent through the team.
After the mauling the Springbok scrum received at the hands of the Pumas in two consecutive tests there have been calls from armchair critics for coach Heyneke Meyer to make changes, but in the naming of his 30-man squad for the Australasian leg of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship came confirmation that his hands are tied.
The Springboks missed an ideal opportunity to put the pressure on New Zealand and Australia after the latter two sides drew 12-all in the first game of this year’s Rugby Championship at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney on Saturday.
To say the unseasonal Loftus monsoon made constructive rugby extremely difficult is an understatement, but one would like to believe that the Boks should have played the situation much better than Saturday’s 13-6 victory in their opener against Argentina in Pretoria.
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.
Jake 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.
Should they both play on Saturday against the Crusaders, Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira will both reach 100 Super Rugby caps for the Sharks.
With hooker Bismarck du Plessis having already achieved the feat, the Sharks front row is one of the most experienced of all time in the competition.
For Jannie du Plessis, it is a dream come true, having grown up supporting the Sharks.
They 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.
In the first week of discussion of Super Rugby squad contenders for 2014 (23 to 29 December), we will discuss 2 positions in seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) and also seperate the Articles of the 5 SA Super Rugby participating franchises.
That means 10 Super Rugby Articles every week from now on.
The basic idea is to discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the Cell C Sharks 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Monday confirmed the names of 10 Springboks who were awarded long-term national contracts in August this year, which will see them remain in South Africa until the end of 2015.
With Jannie du Plessis out for the End Of Year Tours for the Springboks it seems likely that Frans Malherbe will make his debut for the Springboks.
With Du Plessis out, only two options remain at tighthead prop and these are Frans Malherbe and Lourens Adriaanse, who are both uncapped.