Bulls confirm signing of du Plessis and name Currie Cup final team
The Bulls have given themselves a pre-Currie Cup final boost by confirming the signing of veteran Springboks hooker Bismarck du Plessis following a six-year stint in France with Montpellier. The recruitment of the 37-year-old is no surprise as the deal had been speculated on in recent months.
However, the arrival of du Plessis will be important for the Bulls as they prepare to take part in the United Rugby Championship for the first time, participation that begins with a September 25 Aviva Stadium fixture away to repeat PRO14 champions Leinster.
A World Cup winner in 2007, du Plessis earned 79 Springboks caps in a Test career that lasted until 2015 before he headed away to France to play in the Top 14. He began his professional career in South Africa at the Cheetahs before spending a decade at the Sharks.
“We are really pleased to have secured Bismarck’s signature,” enthused Jake White, their director of rugby. “Bismarck is the calibre of player we want here at Loftus – somebody who has a lot to offer on the field of play, and also vast experience that he can impart on the youngsters. There is no doubt that guys like Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Joe van Zyl, Johan Grobbelaar and Schalk Erasmus will gain plenty from his presence.”
A LEGEND is coming to Loftus ? Welcome Bismarck du Plessis ??
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) September 10, 2021
Before heading to Ireland to begin a new era for the Bulls following the departure of the South African franchises from Super Rugby, they will host the Sharks this Saturday at Loftus in a Currie Cup decider where they have made two changes to their XV following last weekend’s semi-final win over Western Province.
With Johan Goosen unavailable, Chris Smith has been picked at out-half in their sole backline change while Joe van Zyl gets the nod at hooker, replacing Schalk Erasmus. “The players have proven to be consistent over the past few weeks in their performances, so it is only natural that we continue with that consistency into this all-important final,” added White.
BULLS (vs Sharks, Saturday)
15. David Kriel (Betway Centurion)
14. Cornal Hendricks (Northam)
13. Lionel Mapoe (Pretoria)
12. Harold Vorster (Northam)
11. Madosh Tambwe (Pretoria)
10. Chris Smith (Harlequins)
9. Zak Burger (Tuine)
8. Elrigh Louw (FNB Tuks)
7. Arno Botha (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
6. Marcell Coetzee (ABE Midas Naka Bulle) – Captain
5. Ruan Nortje (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
4. Janko Swanepoel (Pretoria)
3. Mornay Smith (Betway Centurion)
2. Joe van Zyl (Harlequins)
1. Gerhard Steenekamp (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
16. Jan-Hendrik Wessels (U20)
17. Simphiwe Matanzima (ABE Midas Naka Bulle)
18. Jacques van Rooyen (Tuine)
19. Jacques du Plessis (FNB Tuks)
20. WJ Steenkamp (Tuine)
21. Keagan Johannes (FNB Tuks)
22. Ruan Combrinck (Tuine) / David Coetzer (FNB Tuks)
23. Stravino Jacobs (Harlequins)
The @URCOfficial have released their full fixtures list, which spans two continents, three timezones and takes into account long-haul travel, international windows and the small matter of the pandemic
??? #urc https://t.co/EpdQOoUhnh
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 27, 2021
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