‘Dream’ to be captain

2014-01-22 00:00

HE is rated the finest hooker in world rugby, but Bismarck du Plessis said yesterday that captaining the Sharks was the realisation of a dream.

The 29-year-old Du Plessis, who has taken over from Keegan Daniel as the new Sharks captain, faced the media for the first time at King’s Park yesterday and said that he is hoping that the recent radical changes made there will finally bring Super Rugby success this year.

Du Plessis said that it had always been an ambition to captain the Sharks but did not see it as a stepping-stone to leading the Springboks.

“Captaining the Sharks was my biggest aim, but if the chance to lead the Springboks came along, I wouldn’t say no. But we have a very good Springbok in Jean de Villiers. He has been superb and is playing great rugby. I support him totally.”

The Sharks captain said that the changes at King’s Park had been dramatic under coach Jake White and his new coaching staff.

“It’s just totally different. There isn’t a thing that’s the same. We have a new title sponsor, stadium sponsor, apparel sponsor. There have been many changes here and we are hoping that the fresh look will prove the right recipe for success.”

He said that it was an honour to lead the franchise and he is looking to his predecessor, loose forward Keegan Daniel, and CEO John Smit to help him meet the challenge.

“I’m really excited about this new leadership role and looking forward to a good season with the Sharks.

“The first person who came to me after the captaincy was announced was Keegan [Daniel] and he immediately expressed his support for me.

“Keegan’s a vital member of our side and I’ve asked him to help me, just as I supported him when he was captain. I’m privileged to have his assistance and support. Frans Steyn has also captained the Sharks and so has Jean Deysel. We have a number of leaders in the squad and they will help me make the right calls during the season.

“We will have to play well as a squad if we want to do well in the Super Rugby competition.”

Du Plessis said he knew there would be testing times during his first season as captain and he knew Smit was ready to help him. “I’m definitely going to make mistakes. John [Smit] made a lot of right decisions during his career, so I will definitely lean on him.”

The burly hooker said that he was fiercely loyal to the Sharks.

“I wouldn’t have stayed in Durban for so long if I didn’t really love playing for them. They have been very good to me over the 10 or so years that I have been here and I’m really looking forward to playing for them again in Super Rugby.

“This time last year I wasn’t able to play [because of injury] so I’m looking forward to starting this season.”

Du Plessis said the Super Rugby season was a long, hard competition but there was a positive mood in the Sharks camp. “It would be great to win the Super Rugby tournament, but we’re going to be taking it game by game. If you get too far ahead of yourself, you’ll stumble more often than not. But we do have a strong squad and we’re backing ourselves.”

The Sharks leave for London today and will play Saracens in London on Saturday in the first of two pre-season friendlies. The second will be against the Lions at Ellis Park on February 7. The Super Rugby opener is against the Bulls at King’s Park on February 15.

SuperSport will screen Saturday’s match on CSN, SS1 and SHD from 4.15 pm.

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