Rugby hero’s visit hooks supporters


WHILE the rest of the South African rugby squad was in the United Kingdom relaxing before their match against Ireland, Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis was in Grahamstown last Friday where he was guest speaker at a braai at the Wyvern Club.


Still nursing the knee ligament injury he sustained in a match representing South Africa in August, Du Plessis acquitted himself well in what was essentially a question-and-answer session in front of about 160 local rugby enthusiasts.


Earlier in the day, Du Plessis addressed Kingswood College rugby players on the City Lords ground. He stood throughout as he addressed the players, and limped as he made his way to the vehicle taking him to another talk in town.


HOOKER IN TOWN: Springbok rugby forward Bismarck du Plessis addressed about 160 Grahamstown rugby enthusiasts at a braai at the Wyvern Club on the Kingswood College campus last Friday. Here he is seenstanding on the City Lords ground with the school’s indoor sports centre in the background Picture: SID PENNEY

At the braai later, Du Plessis, who earned his 100th Super Rugby cap this year after eight years with the Sharks, held his audience’s attention throughout with anecdotes, reminiscences and humorous sketches, as well as the more serious side of the game involving coaches, selections, opponents and team mates.


Du Plessis, who lives in Durban and enjoys fishing and just being at the beach in his spare time, was brought up in Bethlehem in the Free State and attended Grey College in Bloemfontein.


He earns a living as a professional rugby player and as an insurance broker.


He has been playing in the hooker position since the age of 10 years.


His older brother Jannie, also a member of the Springbok squad and who played against Ireland on Saturday, is a medical doctor.


Du Plessis told his audience at the braai he considered himself fortunate in being able to play in the same Springbok squad as his brother, and also spoke of his respect and admiration for John Smit, who taught him so much about rugby from a hooker’s perspective.


On the other side of the coin, he shared with the mostly-male audience that coach Rassie Erasmus never really rated him and told him he would never be a ‘Bok. The hooker has represented the Springboks for five years.


Du Plessis, who was named man of the match in a Test against England earlier this year, stayed behind after the well-received braai talk and mingled with guests until midnight.

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