United Rugby Championship

Jake ramps up Bulls-Stormers drama with cited Bismarck's pick: '100% sure he'll play'

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Bismarck du Plessis. (Photo by Ben Evans/Gallo Images)
Bismarck du Plessis. (Photo by Ben Evans/Gallo Images)
  • Jake White is "100% sure" that Bismarck du Plessis won't be suspended after being cited for foul play in a Currie Cup match earlier this week.
  • The veteran has been included on the bench for the Bulls' massive URC derby against the Stormers despite attending a disciplinary hearing on Friday afternoon.
  • White, who referred to the saga as a bit of "shenanigans", believes the drama merely adds to the specialness of the occasion. 

Bulls mentor Jake White insists he's not taking a gamble by including Bismarck du Plessis on the bench for Saturday's massive United Rugby Championship derby against the Stormers on Saturday.

The former Springbok hooker is understood to have attended a disciplinary hearing late on Friday afternoon after being cited for an alleged strike to the face of Western Province lock Ben-Jason Dixon during Wednesday night's Currie Cup encounter at Loftus.

Du Plessis' apparent indiscretion caused a subsequent stir, mostly because there was no conclusive camera angle on the incident during the TV broadcast, merely a grainy wide shot from the stands.

WP were highly annoyed afterwards, with skipper Nama Xaba revealing that Dixon had a bruise above his eye to show for his trouble.

He, however, couldn't say whether Du Plessis used an open hand or closed fist.

An adjudication is expected latest by Saturday morning.

READ | WATCH | Bismarck du Plessis in hot water over alleged punch controversy: 'It's outrageous'

"You're telling me there's a hearing? If there's one, I'm 100% sure Bismarck won't be suspended," said White.

"One of the articles I read said that a WP player 'thinks' that Bismarck slapped the player in question. I'm pretty sure you can't really [hope for a successful citing] if a player 'thinks' he was slapped. 

"It's an allegation that needs to be proven, innocent until proven otherwise. Isn't it wonderful that our replacement hooker is getting more TV time and attention than the game itself?

White then added a bit of fuel to the fire by suggesting the Capetonians possibly wasted energy that could've been channeled towards the game on getting Du Plessis sanctioned while also unexpectedly revealing that his stalwart was allegedly punched by Bok No 2 Bongi Mbonambi a few weeks ago without any consequences. 

"Hopefully the Stormers spent most of the week looking for videos on social media rather than focusing on the game. It's fantastic, it adds to the intrigue. It's like the old days, a bit of banter and excitement at a north-south derby," he said.

"I didn't know you can get cited for slapping. Bongi punched Bismarck and didn't even get cited. It's wonderful, it's a massive game. They beat us previously and they're at full-strength."

Asked whether an apparent slap could be viewed in a more serious light than Mbonambi's "punch", the former World Cup-winning coach responded in classic fashion.

"One can't take these things for granted. All I can say is the publicity has been massive. There are all these shenanigans. It's wonderful theatre behind the scenes: Can Bismarck train? Will he train? Will we pick him?

"We'll see on Saturday if he runs on. I see the guy he apparently slapped is on the bench, so who knows? Maybe they'll even meet again."

Kick-off is at 14:00.

Teams:

Stormers15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)

Substitutes: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Ben-Jason Dixon, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Warrick Gelant

Bulls: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Substitutes: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Cornal Hendricks

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