They say it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any luck and the news out today that Bismarck du Plessis is struggling with a sore shoulder might just see a tricky loose end tied up this weekend.
The issue is a simple one, really. Bok coach Peter de Villiers wants John Smit to play hooker and has almost gone as far as stating outright that the skipper will only go to the World Cup if he can prove himself the best man for the number 2 jersey. Problem is, John Plumtree sees Smitty as a prop these days – mostly a loosehead one – a position in which de Villiers feels there is more than enough cover at national level without Smit.
A report earlier in the week suggested that the two coaches were on a collision course, with the Bok boss apparently set for “talks” with his Sharks counterpart to discuss (or perhaps demand) gametime at hooker for Smit. Plumtree could sidestep this one pretty nicely if he were to rest du Plessis this week and start Smit at hooker. The captain, who was very good at loosehead against the Lions, could silence a few of his detractors by putting in a storming performance in the middle of the scrum this weekend. Bismarck’s execution in the lineouts has also been far short of his usual standard in recent weeks and a commanding showing in this set piece could tick a few boxes on Smitty’s application form as well.
In short, I think it’s a bloody good idea to give John Smit a start at hooker this weekend and possibly even consider putting Craig Burden on the bench (with Bismarck given an extra week to recover fully). It’s a long season, after all and you can never have too may in-form players pushing each other hard for selection.Tweet