Callie Visagie chats to Sport24

Callie Visagie (Gallo Images)
Callie Visagie (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Bulls No 2 CALLIE VISAGIE answers YOUR questions. He discusses the Springbok training camp, what makes Bismarck du Plessis the world’s best hooker and locking horns with the Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday...

Ciano Champ asked: You were called up to the Springbok training squad. Describe the experience.

Callie Visagie: It was an invaluable experience and I was really impressed by the professionalism of the Springbok setup. It was a privilege to learn how the Springbok system operates. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to represent the Springboks as there is so much history behind the green and gold jersey. Heyneke Meyer conveyed the message that it’s an honour to represent one’s country and if selected, one must give everything to the cause. I share those sentiments wholeheartedly.

Liza Lucani asked: Of you, Heyneke has said: “Apart from being a very strong scrummager, his line-out throwing is pinpoint and he has a high work-rate.” Your reaction?

Callie Visagie: I’m humbled by those words. I pride myself on my scrummaging and my line-out work is an equal point of focus – having line-out jumpers in the form of Victor Matfield and Flip van der Merwe, makes my job that much easier. In the last few weeks, in particular, I’ve made a concerted effort to carry the ball more and I appreciate the need to possess a high work-rate. At the Bulls, a large part of our game revolves around kicking and, as such, one has to be an efficient chaser.

Randall Ludick asked: Who decided that you should play hooker and which player did you admire?

Callie Visagie: I actually played eighthman in primary school, but later my teacher Mr Richard Visagie (no relation) decided that I would be best suited to the hooking berth. Growing up, I most admired Corné Krige. He also hailed from Paarl Boys’ High and for a long time was the only Springbok from my alma mater. He was a really rugged player and always put his body on the line for his team.

Herman Mostert asked: How has role of the modern hooker evolved? In effect, to you see yourself as an extra loose forward who plays towards the ball?

Callie Visagie: A hooker’s role in the professional era has evolved in the sense that one has to get around the park a lot more – especially with the game plans which are now employed. While there is a greater sense of movement across the field, I believe the best hookers are those that are able to find a balance between set-piece and general play. What makes Bismarck du Plessis, for example, such a complete hooker is his ability to scrum well, throw in precisely, his high work-rate and physicality. He’s also a dominant ball-carrier and his ball-stealing ability is another of his trademarks.

Gary Taylor asked: Victor Matfield is set for the Springbok captaincy. Discuss the perception that he has been selected on the grounds of his prior relationship with Heyneke Meyer...

Callie Visagie: Owing to his standing in the game, I don’t think Victor needed to prove anything to anyone. However, his Super Rugby performances have warranted Springbok selection. In my eyes, he remains the best line-out forward in world rugby. He makes the set-piece look so effortless. From a captaincy point of view, his calmness under pressure and mature leadership style are his most impressive attributes.

Russell McAlister asked: In a competition as gruelling as Super Rugby expand on the need to make use of a squad rotation system. All eight of the Bulls players partook in the Bok training camp...

Callie Visagie: Regarding squad rotation at the Bulls, coach Frans Ludeke is very clear with the players and everyone knows where they stand in terms of selection. Rotation and rest is definitely important in a competition as physically demanding as Super Rugby. Yes, injuries are unpredictable in professional sport, but player management is crucial. Super Rugby is a long competition and therefore, it’s crucial that players within a squad system share the workload over the season.

Wondra Pitze asked: Share some inside information about your team-mates. Who is the loudest snorer, the most conscientious student, the best impersonator, worst golfer and most forgetful?

Callie Visagie: Dean Greyling is by far the loudest snorer. The most hard-working student would be Jono Ross – in his spare time he’s always studying. The best impersonator would be Morné Mellet – he copies the mannerisms of the players and coaching staff very well. I can confidently say that I’m the worst golfer in the group, while Jacques “Sheep” du Plessis is the most forgetful.

Katelyn Owen: You face your former side on Saturday. Explain what that experience will be like and the outlook for the match from a Bulls’ perspective.

Callie Visagie: The Jukskei derby is always a crunch encounter. Having played for the Lions, on a personal note, it will be exciting to return to Ellis Park – I have a number of mates in the Lions team. However, come kick-off time I’ll be in game mode. The Lions are a dangerous attacking side and we therefore need to play a smart territorial game against them. It’s been a short turnaround for myself and the other seven Bulls players who were involved with the Boks this week, but by now we all know the systems. A few of the finer details will be ironed out during our Captain’s Run on Friday morning. We know what we need to achieve on Saturday in order to keep our playoff hopes alive and are duly motivated.


Raymond Rhule

Frans Ludeke

Demetri Catrakilis

Warren Whiteley

Naka Drotske

Michael Cheika

Francois Hougaard

Andre Watson

Chester Williams

Jono Ross

Johan Ackermann

Japie Mulder

Makhaya Ntini

Andre Joubert

James Dalton

Shaun Pollock

Jonathan Kaplan

James Small

Pat Symcox

Joe van Niekerk

Nick Mallett

Heyneke Meyer

Tiaan Strauss

John Mitchell

David Campese

Dean Furman
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