- Bulls Currie Cup mentor Gert Smal didn't want to discuss the merits of Bismarck du Plessis' red card at the weekend but is nonetheless disappointed that he can't select the veteran hooker.
- The former Bok star was expected to be a key figure in Wednesday's vital Currie Cup meeting with the Sharks.
- Instead, Smal and the rest of team management have used Du Plessis as an example of being more responsible on the field.
While steering away from discussing the merits of Bismarck du Plessis' red card in last weekend's United Rugby Championship clash with Munster, Bulls Currie Cup coach Gert Smal has definitely been left disappointed by the veteran hooker's unavailability for Wednesday's meeting with the Sharks.
The evergreen former Springbok hard-man is likely to be cited for dangerously lifting and then flinging Alex Kendellen head-first towards the ground at a breakdown in the narrow 29-24 win despite Jake White, the Bulls' director of rugby, arguing the incident was "silly but not dirty".
Given how much of a premium the Bulls are placing on defending their Currie Cup crown - various URC stalwarts start at Loftus mid-week - Smal was banking on Du Plessis' experience.
"He was absolutely considered for selection," said Smal, rather pithily.
However, team management haven't been averse to pointing out to the rest of the group that Du Plessis' rush of blood is exactly the type of behaviour unbecoming of a senior player.
"I'm definitely not happy about it. I mentioned right at the beginning that we would want to see the players being accurate in a lot of things," said Smal.
"Discipline is one of those. We've implored ourselves not to give away unnecessary penalties and even focused on not remotely being shown yellow or red cards. That's really something we have to start actively managing.
"It's definitely been a priority for us over the past week, and hopefully, we can deliver some quality rugby."
Meanwhile, Smal indicated that he will use his discretion in terms of his substitutes for the match, especially with a substantial few of them being expected to face Cardiff at Loftus on Friday night.
"We'll see how the game goes," he said.
"We'll play accordingly and if it seems some of them might need a breather before the URC match, we'll definitely make our changes with that in mind."
Kick-off at Loftus is at 20:00.
15 Inny Radebe, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Murray Koster, 11 Curwin Gertse, 10 Tito Bonilla, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Mpilo Gumede, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 James Venter (captain), 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Emile van Heerden, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Dian Bleuler
Substitutes: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Braam Reyneke, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Jeandre Labuschagne, 20 Ntsika Fisanti, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Jordan Chait, 23 Ethan Fisher
15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Keagan Johannes, 8 WJ Steenkamp, 7 Arno Botha (captain), 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Kowie Roos, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Cornal Hendricks