Bismarck to captain Sharks' ship
Thu, 16 Jan 2014 09:49
Smit's role in the appointment revealed
Bismarck du Plessis, the world's best hooker, has been named captain of the Sharks for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Jake White, the Director of Rugby, confirmed to this website that Du Plessis will lead the side - with Jean Deysel, Odwa Ndungane and Pat Lambie as the vice-captains.
"He will get support from those guys [Ndungane, Deysel and Lambie] as vice captains," White said, adding: "Let us not forget guys like Keegan Daniel, Jacques Botes and Frans Steyn - who have also captained the Sharks.
"There are a lot of guys here who has had the privilege of captaining sides and they will all assist him."
The 29-year-old Bok, Du Plessis, takes over the armband from Keegan Daniel and will get his first chance to lead the team in a pre-season friendly against English club Saracens at Allianz Park in London next Saturday.
Describing Du Plessis as "a freak" and one who "leads by example", White also revealed the role World Cup-winning former Bok captain John Smit, now CEO of the Sharks, played in the appointment.
White said his well-documented relationship with Smit, as coach and captain of a Bok team that won the 2007 World Cup, is some that will help him at the Sharks.
"It is already helping, like in the naming of the captain," White told this website in an interview after naming Du Plessis as skipper.
"[I've had] a lot of debate with a guy that I trust, like John Smit, and a lot of work will happen behind the scenes.
"Like I have said to Bismarck, he has one of the best mentors he can have, two floors above him. He [Du Plessis] can just walk up to John's office and talk to him about things he wants to know about captaincy.
"It is not only I that get out of [benefit from] this relationship with John, there are a lot of people in this organisation that are very happy they have a guy like John involved in the franchise."
He admitted that Du Plessis's appointment was run past the Sharks boss.
"I will always ask John, he is my CEO and will always value it [his input]," White said.
"It is just the relationship I have with John - he is the most successful captain South Africa has ever had and there is no-one better to talk to about the way I think as a coach.
It is fantastic for me and it is also fantastic for the players.
"Bismarck has made it clear he would really like to meet John now and then to ask questions about certain things."
White described Du Plessis "a winner" and "one of the best players in the world", he said the 57-Test hooker selects himself into every team.
"You never have to worry about his merits, he selects himself," the Sharks Director of Rugby said, adding: "More importantly, for Bismarck, is that he has the respect of the players.
"The players will follow him. They know that he doesn't take any shortcuts and it is always nice when you have a captain that runs in front."
By Jan de Koning
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