Bismarck du Plessis

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis celebrates his milestone 40th birthday on Wednesday, 22 May. Hip Hip Hooray! Image: X @BlueBullsRugby

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis turns 40: His career in numbers

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis celebrates his milestone 40th birthday on Wednesday, 22 May. Hip Hip Hooray!

Bismarck du Plessis

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis celebrates his milestone 40th birthday on Wednesday, 22 May. Hip Hip Hooray! Image: X @BlueBullsRugby

Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis celebrates his milestone 40th birthday on Wednesday, 22 May.

Congratulations!

Born in Bethlehem, Du Plessis attended Grey College and the University of the Free State.

He played for the Free State Cheetahs in 2003, before moving to the Sharks in 2005 where he spent the bulk of his career, and then to Montpellier in the French Top 14.

He is widely acknowledged to be one of the best hookers of his time.

Back-up to John Smit

Du Plessis made his debut for the Sharks in Super Rugby (then the Super 12) in 2005. He played in the same team as South Africa’s past captain, John Smit.

For much of his career he had been a back-up to Smit. However, this changed when Smit moved to tighthead prop.

Before Smit’s change of position, Du Plessis nonetheless played in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup whenever Smit was unavailable, and in 2007 was selected to play for South Africa in the Tri-Nations.

He made his debut for South Africa as a substitute in the same game against Australia in Sydney in which his older brother, Jannie, who was in the starting XV, also made his Springboks debut.

The Du Plessis brothers became the 23rd set of brothers to earn Test caps for South Africa.

Following an illness to Pierre Spies, Bismarck du Plessis was called into South Africa’s squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

His brother Jannie was also later added to the squad, replacing BJ Botha who injured a knee in South Africa’s final pool match against the USA.

During the 2008 end-of-year Tests, the Springboks moved Smit to tighthead in order to accommodate both him and the younger, faster Du Plessis in the front row together.

This change continued through the 2009 Super 14 season and into the Springboks’ 2009 Test season.

Eye-gouge

After South Africa’s second game of the 2008 Tri-Nations against New Zealand, Du Plessis was cited for an eye-gouge on thee All Blacks’ Adam Thomson.

At the subsequent disciplinary hearing, which was the first of his career, the judicial officer found that his action had been “careless”, not deliberate, and imposed a three-week suspension, a significantly lower penalty than the three-to-six months’ suspensions routinely imposed for deliberate eye-gouging.

Du Plessis was selected for the 2011 Rugby World Cup along with his brother Jannie.

He came off the bench against Wales in a match South Africa won 17-16.

He then won a man of the match performance in June 2012 against England in the second test and also scored a try as the Springboks won 36-27 thanks to a late try from right winger JP Pietersen.

During the 2013 Rugby Championship, Du Plessis received two yellow cards in a match against New Zealand and was then issued a red card.

The IRB later admitted an error in one of the yellow cards.

The red card was later overturned by the IRB and struck from Du Plessis’ record. 

He was also selected for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Bismarck du Plessis played 79 Tests for the Springboks, scoring 11 tries.

He also played 173 matches for the Sharks in all competitions and 128 for Montpellier.

BISMARCK DU PLESSIS

Springbok #787

First Test: 7 July 2007 Age:23 Reserve against Australia at Stadium Australia, Sydney
Last Test: 30 October 2015 Hooker against Argentina at Olympic Stadium, London