Bismarck to captain Sharks

Bismarck du Plessis will lead the Sharks in this year's Super Rugby tournament.

Odwa Ndungane, Jean Deysel and Pat Lambie have all been appointed as vice-captains.

'There is no doubt in my mind he’s a freak, one of the best players in the world, the best hooker in the world,' said Sharks director of rugby Jake White of Du Plessis.

'What I respect is that he could go anywhere in the world and earn five times what he is now and still get the guarantee from Heyneke Meyer about being a Springbok in the next World Cup. He’s chosen to stay here and if that doesn’t show people he’s dedicated to the Sharks then we’re on a different page. It’s not a reward for that, but it shows he is genuine.

'Everyone knows how good he is. I’m hoping that this role of captaincy, but more importantly, with the change in environment we are creating and the people we are putting around him, we will really upskill him in terms of the things he is weak at. He knows what his limitations are, even in terms of how he’s going to be a captain.'

White also delivered some sympathetic words for former captain Keegan Daniel, but was confident in his selection of Du Plessis.

'Keegan will probably be a bit disappointed, that’s natural, he’s been a good captain. The thinking is for me to have a stamp of what I think is important for us as a group. The dynamics in the group are changing, there are some new guys who have joined the squad.

'I’ve worked with Bismarck before, he is a winner and has enormous presence in rugby. It’s not about individuals but what we do as a group.'

The Sharks are set to play a pre-season friendly against English club Saracens on 25 January at Allianz Park in London.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Simon Borchardt