Shark Bis­marck cries af­ter win­ning farewell

The China Post - - SPORTS -

South African rugby hard man Bis­marck du Plessis cried Satur­day af­ter his fi­nal Su­per Rugby ap­pear­ance for the Coastal Sharks ended in a 34-12 home victory over West­ern Storm­ers.

Du Plessis, a 31-year-old rated among the best hook­ers in the world, is mov­ing to France with el­der brother and Sharks prop Jan­nie to play in the Top 14 com­pe­ti­tion.

While the broth­ers have not dis­closed who they are join­ing, re­ports link them with Mont­pel­lier, where 2007 Rugby World Cup-win­ning Springboks coach Jake White is in charge.

“Dur­ban has been a very spe­cial place for me,” said tear­ful Bis­marck at Kings Park sta­dium in the In­dian Ocean city af­ter his 130th ap­pear­ance for the Sharks, “and I will never for­get my 11 sea­sons here.

“I will miss my team­mates, the sup­port­ers and ev­ery­one who helped me de­velop my ca­reer.

“I was once the sev­enth-choice hooker at the Chee­tahs and now I am told I am among the best in the world,” Bis­marck added af­ter re­ceiv­ing the of­fi­cial man-of-the­match award.

Bis­marck re­called how he joined the Sharks af­ter sev­eral sea­sons with the Bloem­fontein-based Cen­tral Chee­tahs.

“I re­mem­ber writ­ing my last ex­am­i­na­tions and pack­ing ev­ery­thing I owned into a lit­tle Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle.

“It took me about 12 hours to drive from Bloem­fontein to Dur­ban in a car that could not go much faster than 80 kilo­me­ters an hour.

“I had to fill up about six times be­cause it had only a small (gas) tank,” he said..

Du Plessis and North­ern Bulls hooker Adri­aan Strauss are con­sid­ered cer­tain­ties to be in­cluded in the 31-man Springboks squad for the World Cup in Eng­land this Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber.

Bis­marck scored the third of five tries as the Sharks romped to victory over a sec­ond-string Storm­ers side af­ter lead­ing 13-9 at half-time.

Sens­ing they were go­ing to fin­ish third what­ever the re­sult, the Cape Town out­fit rested their first choices ahead of a home Qual­i­fier (quar­ter­fi­nal) against Aus­tralians ACT Brumbies next Satur­day.

Fly-half Lionel Cronje, scrumhalf Ste­fan Un­gerer, full-back Lwazi Mvovo and winger Odwa Ndun­gane were the other try scor­ers for the win­ners.

Cronje kicked two con­ver­sions and a penalty and his re­place­ment, Fred Zeilinga, slot­ted a con­ver­sion.

The bonus-point victory had no ef­fect on the Sharks’ fi­nal plac­ing, though, as they came 11th, 13 points adrift of the last play-off po­si­tion.

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