Backing Bismarck

Bismarck du Plessis must be the Springboks’ first-choice hooker in 2011.

Writing in the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, on sale this week, Ryan Vrede says John Smit is ‘haunted by  the truth that he no longer casts a shadow that hides Du Plessis … Indeed it is Du Plessis, whose physical constitution and athletic prowess is perfectly suited to the demands of the game in its current form, who towers over his tutor.’

Vrede analyses Du Plessis’ performance in the Currie Cup final and says a good Grand Slam tour could leave the Bok selectors with no choice but to cut Smit next year.

Also in the new issue:

Schalk Burger has refined his game to become the complete loose forward

– How the new law interpretations have reduced the impact of fetchers at the breakdown

– South African rugby is slowly but surely ridding itself of a conservative and limiting obsession with size

Lwazi Mvovo made the most of his opportunities at the Sharks to earn a deserved Springbok call-up

– Barbarians coach Nick Mallett on keeping his players happy, the importance of the invitational side, and why the Boks have struggled

– The Sharks won the Currie Cup final by playing a quick-tempo game, dominating the collisions and putting their faith in a young flyhalf

Rassie Erasmus did good work with the WP juniors this year, but the senior side could have used his help too

– The EP Kings have finally got their act together, on and off the field. Now they want to help change the face of South African rugby

– The Springbok Sevens side finished sixth in the last World Series and third at the Commonwealth Games, but coach Paul Treu is optimistic about the future

Grey College insists it does not buy players from other schools or offer them bursaries

– Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter on clashing with authority, how rugby is dying as a spectacle and why being Springbok coach isn’t worth it

– Former Stormers fullback Joe Pietersen is relishing the challenge of playing and living in France

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