Plum caught with too many hookers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 8 Oct 2008 at 11:04
Tagged with : , ,

Some would call it a nice position to be in, others a coach’s worst nightmare. Question is, how the hell does John Plumtree decide which of his Springbok hookers should start against the Lions this Saturday?

Bismarck du Plessis is the incumbent Bok hooker and, more importantly, has been Sharks first choice whenever he’s been available this season. He has emerged as a true great in the making, with his powerful scrummaging, bullocking runs in the loose and (most importantly) superb breakdown technique adding a different dimension to the Sharks pack whenever he plays. He is aggressive and wants to win at all costs. He also seems to bring out the best in his brother Jannie. His only real weakness is his sometimes wayward lineout throwing and his penchant for conceding silly penalties from time to time.

John Smit, on the other hand, is the most-capped Bok captain ever. His leadership and experience mean far more to the team than anything else he does on the field, although based on his showing last weekend, he’s in the form of his life. Possibly the strongest scrummaging hooker anywhere in the southern hemisphere, it’s his mastery of the basics of the position that sets Smit apart from his competitors. He may not be quite as dynamic as du Plessis, but he makes far fewer mistakes. His lineout work, in particular, is a clear differentiator over his younger rival.

The other issue, of course, is the captaincy. Does it make sense to start with Smit and not make him captain? Or would Johann Muller be only too pleased to be relieved of a mantle that, perhaps, doesn’t sit too comfortably on his quiet shoulders? In the interests of maintaining harmony in a settled, happy team, it might make sense to leave things as they are, with Smit on the bench. That would minimise the risk of upsetting both du Plessis and Muller.

But surely, knowing the value that Smit adds, both as a player and as a leader, it would be downright foolish NOT name him as starting hooker and captain? Can the Sharks really afford to hand the Lions possession at lineout time? And is Bismarck’s recent dip in form anything to do with Smit’s return to fitness? Tough decisions all round for the Sharks management, that’s for sure.

Some good news from the Sharks camp, though, is that lock Albert van den Berg’s chances of playing are improving by the day and he is now odds-on to be fit. Against the Lions, the Sharks would probably do well to start with Steven Sykes and Jean Deysel anyway, leaving Big Al and Keegan Daniel to make a second half impact as always.

It’s only really hooker where the really big decision still needs to be made.


  • how’s that for a Voldy-style headline?

    guess you guys can tell who I would start with, hey?

  • Comment 1, posted at 08.10.08 11:12:29 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • Absolutely Rob!

    Smit , is the way to go here…this is about WINNING the CC…if management has to worry about the profesionalism (ie. if they might upset players or hurt their feelings)…then its a sad day…in the end its sbout winning…you dont Win a silver medal…you loose a gold..

    i say Smit for start and captain!! πŸ˜€

  • Comment 2, posted at 08.10.08 11:21:57 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
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  • @I’ce (Rebel With a Cause) (Comment 2) : My sentiments exactly

  • Comment 3, posted at 08.10.08 11:23:18 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • smit at tighthead, bis at hooker.

  • Comment 4, posted at 08.10.08 14:12:04 by try time Reply

  • But is Smit as good at the breakdown where the Lions are lethal, and Bissie has proved himself great at? With Bissie its like having an extra loosie on the field. But his throwing is not as great as Jon’s, although Jon did throw in one skew last week. As to the Captaincy, could Plum risk a slap in Muller’s face and risk the team spirit he has so painstainkingly created?

  • Comment 5, posted at 08.10.08 14:14:05 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @try time (Comment 4) : nah dude… Jannie is a far better tighthead than John.

  • Comment 6, posted at 08.10.08 14:16:53 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 5) : my sentiments exactly

  • Comment 7, posted at 08.10.08 14:19:17 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • jannie hasn’t been that hot this season. definately not as good as he was last year. i am happy to sacrifice him for the experience of smit. jannie will come off the bench with deon.

  • Comment 8, posted at 08.10.08 14:19:30 by try time Reply

  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 5) : maybe muller would like the mantle of captain taken off his shoulders. it is a heavy burden.

  • Comment 9, posted at 08.10.08 14:21:13 by try time Reply

  • i watched the work rate smit put in on saturday, and compare that to jannie, i hate to say it but an unfit john was better.

  • Comment 10, posted at 08.10.08 14:24:21 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 9) : That would change things a huge amount, if Muller doesn’t want the Captaincy then the team would not be threatened and that would work.

  • Comment 11, posted at 08.10.08 14:30:55 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 7) :

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    i reckon Muller wont take it personally…thats just the way I see him as a person.. honestly

  • Comment 12, posted at 08.10.08 14:36:37 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 10) : Smit didn’t look all that happy against the Griquas scrum(at tighthead ) and the Lions scrum is a lot stronger. I wouldn’t start Smit at tighthead on the weekend.

  • Comment 13, posted at 08.10.08 14:46:45 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 13) : personally I would play Jon off the bench, with Jon comming on for Bismark or Deon or Jannie when we need his his presence on the pitch in the last 15 or 20 minutes…. who can forget that fateful day in May last year πŸ˜₯ Hey Sharkadelic you caused another flutter but watch out for Greeks( or should that be geeks ❓ ) bearing gifts!

  • Comment 14, posted at 08.10.08 15:03:58 by Ragged Reply

  • @Ragged (Comment 14) :

    Thanks for the warning… πŸ˜‰ Did you see that guys Bru credentials?? 😯

  • Comment 15, posted at 08.10.08 15:05:18 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 10) : but John wasn’t playing tighthead. You need to compare apples with similar fruit.

  • Comment 16, posted at 08.10.08 15:14:06 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 12) : you can tell that he really looks up to John in a big way. Pretty sure Bismarck does too

  • Comment 17, posted at 08.10.08 15:16:33 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 15) : he is an old hand but the fact remains he is a pompous Bull from what I can deduce πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 18, posted at 08.10.08 15:23:38 by Ragged Reply

  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 17) :

    I agree…dont think if the captaincy and hooker spot goes to John, either of them wil have a problem..

    @Ragged (Comment 18) :
    Once a bull…always a bull and full of bull…. πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 19, posted at 08.10.08 15:28:19 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • I would start with John Smit, my main reason being that I think the last thing any Lions player will want to see would be Bismarck sitting on the bench and knowing that they are going to have to deal with a fresh Bismarck with 20/30 minutes to go. He will therefore already be contributing (psychologically anyway) from the start of the game. I think his impact from the bench can be massive.

  • Comment 20, posted at 08.10.08 15:38:02 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 20) :

    Thats a different approach… 😎

    Unfortunately…as we watched the game on Saturday and the showed the starting 15 and benches…I still got goosies and said to my hubby…what teams would give for a bench like that…and they did not really come to the table…scary.. 😐

  • Comment 21, posted at 08.10.08 15:42:14 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • I believe plumtree will start with Bissie and that’s what I would do. John got really tired at the end of the game against the griquas, that’s not really what you want, but you still want john there in that last minute that might be crucial and very tight, although we’ll hope that the game is won by halftime.
    Having John on the bench would also mean you could start with Muller as captain, then you replace him with Albert and put John on either hooker or tighthead, he will then take over captaincy. When your body gets tired so does your mind and if John could come on refreshed and keep the players going it will mean much more for the Sharks than a good first half performance from him.
    Bismark will prove his worth again this weekend, maybe Plumtree won’t even replace him and just move John in next to him.

  • Comment 22, posted at 08.10.08 16:46:43 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 22) : brilliant suggestion…

  • Comment 23, posted at 08.10.08 16:48:23 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 23) : Does that mean you’re changing your mind or just think your way is a little more brilliant than mine ❓ πŸ™‚

  • Comment 24, posted at 08.10.08 17:06:23 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Letgo (Comment 24) : no – I can see serious value in what you suggest.

    I know John from school, though, so I’ve never claimed to be unbiased whe it comes to him

  • Comment 25, posted at 08.10.08 18:46:01 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 22) : ya I think thats the best idea. I personally don’t want to see too many drastic changes going on right now. What we’ve got at the moment has been working, let’s not try and ‘fix’ things!

    @Salmonoid (Comment 20) : What about the psychology of Smit off the bench! Do agree that Bismarck can make more of an impact though

  • Comment 26, posted at 08.10.08 18:50:56 by Frisbee Reply

  • I can’t believe how empty the stadium is going to be on Saturday… you can still book tickets on the half-way line… That really sucks! What can the Sharks do to get people into the stadium?

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.10.08 08:06:49 by Frisbee Reply

  • @Frisbee (Comment 27) :

    Frisbee…I have an idea that people are waiting to rather go to the final…hope this does not bite them…

    Hell Peeps – you are lucky enought to have the semi’s and (touch wood) the finals at home…and a ticket is just a few beers less…so get out there and support the guys….if I lived there still..i’d sure as hell make a plan to go both times! πŸ™

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.10.08 08:17:16 by Ice Sharkadelic Babe Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Frisbee (Comment 27) : Still 3 days to go, though. Surely it’ll be close to a full house?

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.10.08 08:20:18 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @Ice Sharkadelic Babe (Comment 28) : Exactly! R130 is not bad! I’m always a bit disappointed with the Durban crowd though – even the semi against the Blues last year was only about 2/3 full… I’m flying back to Durban for the final (touchwood).

    @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 29) : I hope you’re right Rob… Poor Muller has just said how much they’re looking forward to playing in front of 40000 or 50000 people 😐

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.10.08 08:37:45 by Frisbee Reply

  • @Frisbee (Comment 26) :
    Actually much of the same, but from a personal point of view, if I had just played 60 minutes of intense hard rugby and I was out on my feet I would rather face a fresh John Smit than a fresh Bismarck du Plessis in Tasmanian devil mode.

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.10.08 08:49:04 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Love the heading to this article πŸ˜†

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.10.08 08:54:24 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 31) : Yep I with you there. Maybe it would be better for us if Bismarck plays 60+ minutes in Tasmanian devil mode πŸ˜€

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.10.08 08:58:08 by Frisbee Reply

  • Plum caught with too many hookers

    Lucky him

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.10.08 09:22:36 by MorneN Reply
  • @MorneN (Comment 34) : glad SOMEBODY caught it πŸ™‚

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.10.08 09:53:14 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • How many is ‘too many hookers’? πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.10.08 09:55:41 by McLovin Reply

  • @robdylan (Go Sharks!) (Comment 35) : how many is too many i wonder? max mosley might know?

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.10.08 09:57:19 by Frisbee Reply

  • @Frisbee (Comment 37) : ouch… low blow :mrgreen:

  • Comment 38, posted at 09.10.08 09:58:53 by robdylan (Go Sharks!) Reply
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  • @Frisbee (Comment 27) : sort out the parking/traffic and food prices.

  • Comment 39, posted at 09.10.08 10:16:17 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 39) : yeah I agree a few things need to be improved – just sucks that the team has to pay for it in the end. Hey at least you can drink beer in the stands! Down here in goat mountain country, you can only buy 340ml cans, and you can’t take them out of the pathetic ‘pubs’ on the ground floor…

  • Comment 40, posted at 09.10.08 10:59:46 by Frisbee Reply


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