SARugbymag.co.za asks five former players if Bismarck du Plessis should retain the Sharks captaincy.
ROBBIE KEMPSON (former Stormers, Sharks and Bok prop)
'Bismarck was fortunate to only get a four-week suspension. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and followed through. Such behaviour is unbecoming of any sports personality, let alone a captain and first-choice Springbok. In contrast, Pat Lambie showed he has the talent to lead and perform in the face of adversity, and I certainly wouldn't have any objections if he takes over as captain, although I doubt the Sharks management will take the leadership role away from Bismarck. When are South African players going to learn to not to retaliate when they are provoked off the ball? It's a clear tactic by some teams to cheat beyond the scope of the laws, and hot-heads like Bismarck and Jean Deysel are their targets.'
JAMES DALTON (former Lions and Bok hooker)
'This can be an opportunity for Bismarck to hand over the captaincy to another player. His form has slowly declined due to his responsibility as captain, leading to his inability to manage both. Handing the captaincy to someone else will allow him to focus on his own game and return to his best form. He's a fiery player so the red card doesn't make him a lesser player. However, it was unlawful of him to commit the transgression.'
BRAAM VAN STRAATEN (former Stormers and Bok flyhalf)
'He should keep the captaincy as the Sharks have performed well under his leadership. Bismarck's frustration was being held on the ground, which prevented him from joining a ruck [by Michael Leitch] in a try-scoring position. This will undoubtedly be a lesson for him. If he learns from his mistake and keeps his captaincy, that will be brilliant.'
KOBUS WIESE (former Lions and Bok lock)
'As captain, Bismarck should have known he has a bigger responsibility than anyone else on the field. And yet he decided to kick an opponent in the head. I don't want to speculate on what might happen with the captaincy, it's obviously an internal matter. But Lambie was excellent on the night. When the older, more experienced two of the three Sharks leaders failed horribly, Lambie remained a calm figure. And fortunately for the Sharks, his actions had a greater influence on the rest of the players than Bismarck and Steyn's shenanigans. Bismarck will be greatly missed as a player these coming weeks, but not so much as a captain. In Lambie, who has always played with a certain maturity and conducted himself in a good manner, they have a capable, if not better, replacement. He'd make an exceptional captain.'
BREYTON PAULSE (former Stormers & Bok wing)
'I still believe Bismarck should be the Sharks captain. He's such an incredible rugby player and I'm confident he understood his mistake and will make amends. This was probably the last straw because if he transgresses in that manner again, people will remember him for the wrong reasons and perhaps receive more harsh bans.'
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images