Full name Bismarck Wilhelm du Plessis
Born May 22, 1984, Bethlehem
Current age 29 years 204 days
Major teams Barbarians, Natal Sharks, Sharks, South Africa
Height 6 ft 2 in
Weight 246 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||2007-2011||9||1||8||0||0||0||0||0||8||1||0||88.88|
|The Rugby Championship||2007-2013||22||16||6||10||2||0||0||0||13||9||0||59.09|
|Test debut||Australia v South Africa at Sydney, Jul 7, 2007 match details|
|Last Test||France v South Africa at Stade de France, Nov 23, 2013 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
After spending many years in the shadow of John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis is now enjoying his time in the spotlight.
Du Plessis made his Super 12 (now Super 14) debut for the Sharks in 2005 but saw his first-team opportunities limited by the presence of Smit. However, the man from Bethlehem in the Free State impressed in his role as an understudy and earned his first Springbok cap in coming on as a replacement in the Tri-Nations defeat by Australia in Sydney in July, 2007.
It was a historic occasion for the du Plessis family as Bismarck's older brother Jannie also made his debut in the same game.
The younger du Plessis started at hooker against New Zealand the following weekend but he was left out of South Africa boss Jake White's squad for the World Cup later in the year.
However, an injury to Pierre Spies resulted in a late call-up for du Plessis and he made the bench for five of the Springboks' games en route to lifting the Webb Ellis Cup.
The key moment in his career came at the tail end of 2008 when South Africa decided to move John Smit to tight-head to facilitate the inclusion of du Plessis in the front row, with head coach Peter de Villiers reasoning that the latter could no longer be consigned to the role of an impact substitute.
The latter has not looked back, playing an integral role in the Springboks' series victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2009 as he went about establishing himself as one of the finest hookers in world rugby.
Du Plessis is an abrasive character who can sometimes let his aggression get the better of him - he was cited for an eye-gouge on New Zealand's Adam Thompson in 2008 Tri-Nations - but he is as dynamic and athletic a front row as you are likely to find in the game and he is now considered one of the more inspirational figures within the Springbok squad.
Indeed, the widespread disappointment within South Africa which greeted the news that he will miss the 2010 Tri-Nations series underlined just how highly he is now rated.