• Lions possess ‘the next Bismarck’

    Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes Malcolm Marx can become the next Bismarck du Plessis.

    The new Lions hooker will make his first Super Rugby start this week after being handed a place in the XV ahead of Armand van der Merwe for the match against the Hurricanes at Ellis Park.

    Standing 1.88m tall and weighing in at 119kg, compared to Du Plessis's 1.89m and 112kg, Marx certainly possesses the physical stature to make the step up.

    Ackermann says the 20-year-old, who represented the Junior Boks at last year's Junior World Championships, has the ability to become a key player for the union in the coming years.

    'I was excited about Malcolm last year already, but he needed to work on his mobility a bit and that's something he's done,' Ackermann told The Star. 'Right now Malcolm is extremely fit, he's in the best shape I've ever seen him.

    'He's got all the physical attributes you want in a hooker. He's got a real presence at ruck time and in defence and plays like another loose forward. In my view he can be the next Bismarck du Plessis.'

    Marx says he still has a long way to go before he can be compared to the Bok hooker, although he admits Du Plessis is a role model of his.

    'I love the physical stuff and I've probably modelled myself on Bismarck but I know there's a lot of work for me still to do to get up there.'

    Marx faces stern competition for the starting role this season, with the currently injured Robbie Coetzee and Van der Merwe on the Lions' books.

    Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images