Birmarck du Plessis is ready to take over from Springbok captain John Smit as South Africa’s No 1 hooker, says former Bok and Western province hooker Charl Marais.
“Bismarck’s time has come,” Marais said here on Monday, adding that the time was ripe for the Sharks player to be trusted with the hooker’s berth in the national rugby team.
“I believe the players in the (Springbok) squad are mature enough to accept a situation in which John is merely one of the 22,” Marais said.
Stephen Nell reports for Die Burger that Sharks coach John Plumtree had Du Plessis in his starting line-up for the Currie Cup semifinal against the Lions. He may also choose Du Plessis ahead of the Springbok captain for the final against the Blue Bulls in Durban on Saturday.
Marais feels Springbok coach Peter de Villiers may follow suit. If he does, lock forward Victor Matfield should captain the SA team on their tour of Britain next month, he says.
Marais sees Western Province centre Jean de Villiers as a candidate to captain the Springboks at the 2011 World Cup tournament in New Zealand.
If the Springbok coach decides to select Du Plessis ahead of Smit, Marais feels it will be better for the players to have Matfield as tour captain.
“John is no longer the first choice. The moment you’re on tour, you need one guy at the helm. It must be someone who is certain of playing,” Marais explained.
Play in any position
“I believe John won’t let you down as a player. The question is how fit he will be because he has not played much rugby recently.”
The Springbok squad will be announced after the Currie Cup final in Durban on Saturday night.
A training camp for those selected will be held in Cape Town from Tuesday to Friday next week.
Smit’s leadership, experience and ability to play in any position in the front row still make him a must for the Springbok squad.
The national selectors are likely to include a third hooker; probably Adriaan Strauss.
However, Marais and former Springbok prop Toks van der Linde have nominated Willie Wepener of the Lions as understudy to Du Plessis and Smit.
“I have nothing against Strauss, but Wepener has shown, in the match between the Lions and Boland, his ability to scrum well in wet conditions,” Van der Linde said.
Marais agreed. “He (Wepener) looks like a hooker. A hooker should have a crooked nose, cauliflower ears and a tube (stomach).”
The two also agreed that the career of WP hooker Schalk Brits had been harmed by his selection as a loose forward from time to time.Tweet