Bismarck du Plessis named Sharks captain
January 17, 2014
Jake White believes Springboks hooker Bismarck du Plessis is the best rake in the world © Getty Images
Bismarck du Plessis will captain the Sharks in 2014, Jake White replacing Keegan Daniel with "the best hooker in the world" because he wants "a fresh start" for the Super Rugby season. The Sharks coach explained his decision by describing du Plessis as "a winner" and a "rare breed" for his record of having won three world cups - under-19, under-21 and senior - before the age of 24.
"It would be understandable if Keegan was disappointed and he has done a good job as captain of the Sharks in the past, but it is about the team, not the individual," White said at a press conference in Durban. "And after a lot of consultation I have decided that Bismarck is the man to take us forward as captain, with Odwa Ndungane, Jean Deysel and Pat Lambie backing him up as vice-captains.
"If Bismarck is unavailable for a match for some reason, one of those three will step in to lead the side in his place. The one thing that Bismarck does bring is that he is a winner. He won the under-19 and under-21 world cups when he was a junior, and, of course, he has also been involved in a successful World Cup at senior level as well as winning Currie Cup campaigns.
"There will also be some new guys in the squad that will be announced in the next few weeks, and having Bismarck there, who I have worked with before, will be a big help."
White denied that du Plessis' disciplinary record was a cause of concern, or that the captaincy was "a trade-off for him having to do anything differently".
"Bismarck never had any disciplinary problems when I worked with him before," White said.
"What I am hoping is that the captaincy will upskill him in those areas where he is weak. Bismarck knows his areas of weakness and what he has to work on, and has a great mentor in John Smit, who is based in the stadium and will always be available to give him advice both as a hooker and as a captain."
White, meanwhile, confirmed that he would select Patrick Lambie exclusively as a fly-half, and that the Springboks star would not be played at fullback. He also said that Frans Steyn would play at inside centre.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league