Home Castle Rugby Championship Bismarck gets start for Springboks

Bismarck gets start for Springboks


Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen will be given as much time as possible to recover from injury while Bismarck du Plessis will start Saturday’s final round Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.


This match will be Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’ 50th appearance in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, the most by any South African.

Vermeulen is recovering from a rib cartilage injury and if he doesn’t recover in time to face New Zealand, Schalk Burger will start in the No 8 jersey with Warren Whiteley coming onto the bench.

If Vermeulen is cleared to play, the inclusion of Du Plessis at hooker will be the only change to the team that beat Australia by 28-10 in Cape Town last weekend.

“It’s been good to build some form of continuity and we’ll give Duane as much time as possible before making a final call,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“He’s been one of our best players in the last couple of weeks and is responding well to medical treatment, but if he can’t make it, we can fall back on the experience of Schalk to start at No 8 with Warren coming onto the bench.

“Schalk’s impact last weekend was massive, but so was the rest of the bench and we’ll be looking for more of the same on Saturday.

“At hooker, we’ve decided to rotate Bismarck with Adriaan Strauss, both of whom must rate amongst the best hookers in the world at the moment.”

Meyer said that the Springboks will need to be at their best, defend strongly and execute their attacking plays as well as possible on Saturday if they are going to be victorious against New Zealand.

Over the last three years since the last Rugby World Cup, the All Blacks have established themselves as one of the best Test teams of all time, losing only once and drawing once during this time.

“We’re well aware of the massive task that awaits us,” said Meyer.

“There are areas of the game we know we have to improve on against New Zealand. We’d like to go out there and enjoy the occasion and carry on where we left off against Australia. Hopefully we can get quick ball, like we did towards the end of the Test in Cape Town.”

Lwazi Mvovo has been released to play in the Absa Currie Cup for the Cell C Sharks this weekend.

The Springbok team to face New Zealand in Johannesburg is:

15 Willie le Roux 20 caps 35 points
14 Cornal Hendricks 8 caps 25 points
13 Jan Serfontein 15 caps 5 points
12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 101 caps 135 points
11 Bryan Habana 102 caps 280 points
10 Handré Pollard 5 caps 37 points
9 Francois Hougaard 31 caps 20 points
8 Duane Vermeulen / Schalk Burger 24 caps/72 caps / 10 points/65 points
7 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje 2 caps 0 points
6 Marcell Coetzee 21 caps 25 points
5 Victor Matfield (vice-captain) 116 caps 35 points
4 Eben Etzebeth 28 caps 0 points
3 Jannie du Plessis 59 caps 5 points
2 Bismarck du Plessis 65 caps 45 points
1 Tendai Mtawarira 60 caps10 points
16 Adriaan Strauss 39 caps 25 points
17 Trevor Nyakane 8 caps 5 points
18 Marcel van der Merwe 4 caps 0 points
19 Bakkies Botha 82 caps 35 points
20 Schalk Burger / Warren Whiteley 72 caps/2 caps 65 points/0 points
21 Cobus Reinach 1 cap 0 points
22 Pat Lambie 35 caps 78 points
23 JP Pietersen 55 caps 85 points

Stats and facts:

•The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 657 Test caps (282 in the backline and 375 in the forwards), while there are a further 296 caps worth of experience on the bench.

•Jean de Villiers will become the first Springbok to play in 50 matches in the Tri-Nations / Castle Lager Rugby Championship. Only Richie McCaw (54) and Keven Mealamu (52) have played more Rugby Championship games.

•De Villiers will also extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 86 Tests in this position and will captain South Africa for the 30th time, placing him third behind John Smit (83) and Gary Teichmann (38).

•Victor Matfield will extend his record as the most capped Springbok in history (116 Tests). He will also extend his record of 116 Tests as a lock and will also be playing against New Zealand for the 26th time to extend his record.

•Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 101 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, he will extend his record of 56 Test tries for South Africa as well as his Castle Lager Rugby Championship record of 18 tries, and will extend his own SA record of seven career tries against New Zealand.

•If he scores a try, Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his older brother Jannie will extend their record of playing together in 39 Tests for the Springboks. Bismarck, Jannie and Tendai Mtawarira will also extend their record of 17 Tests as a front-row trio for South Africa.

•It will be the second time in history (first last week) that a Springbok team will have three centurions in the starting line-up.

•The referee is Wayne Barnes of England. This will be his 10th Test involving South Africa. The Springboks have won six and lost three of the previous Tests. The last time he refereed South Africa, was against France on 23 November 2013 at the Stade de France in Paris. The Boks won 19-10.

Springbok Test match records at Ellis Park, Johannesburg:

oMost points – 31 (3t, 5c, 1p) by GK (Gavin) Johnson on 13 April 1995 against Samoa.

oMost tries – four by CM (Chester) Williams on 10 June 1995 and by JL (Jongi) Nokwe on 30 August 2008 against Australia.

oMost conversions – nine by AD (Butch) James on 9 August 2008 against Argentina.

oMost penalty goals – six by PC (Percy) Montgomery on 16 June 2001 against France and by LJ (Louis) Koen on 14 June 2003 against Scotland.

oMost drop goals – two by JT (Joel) Stransky on 24 June 1995 against New Zealand and by JH (Jannie) de Beer on 19 July 1997 against New Zealand.


Leave a comment


  1. Bunny
    If you were talinkg about any other country I would agree with you regarding Vermulen.

    But each Test match is of utmost importance in & of itself.
    I’d leave DV out because I think SA could get by no prob with any other country.

    But this is the All Blacks. I don’t see any dead rubber at all.

    I disagree with HM’s characterization of the game. Calling it a “massive task” IMO is giving creedence to a “not worthy” or not good enough tone. No need to feed that whatsoever. It’s not motivating.

    What is motivating is being excited for the game because it just slipped past them in NZ. Just.
    Also each player has kitted up COUNTLESS times against many ABs in SuperRugby. They’ve done it a million times already – why add BS mystique & spooky if it doesn’t serve you.

    I don’t get it. Inferiority complexes are self perpetuating.

  2. @Americano: Can see what you say, but although we want to beat the AB, the game is dead rubber…championship is lost already….Vermeulen needs to rest and if he is not resting him for EOY tour then he needs to do it now.

    I don’t see why you will force a player who is injured if you can play a fit one…

  3. @Americano:

    Man I love the way you think…

    In your terms…

    The PPacers should never have gotten as far as they did in the NBA because of the mystique surrounding their play off opponents… especially in the finals the Heat should have blown them away…. and yet… I wonder what would have happened if they had gone… Oh heck… Lebron James… Chris Bosch… it’s a massive task filled with mystical magical significance blahblah… think they’re playing super men…. BUT… we all know what happened…

  4. Exactly…

    It’s amazing how our booys can think players who paly for the Canes and Crusaders are human and when those exact players wear black there is a sudden mystique…

  5. I can assure you Messerschmitt-Willie LeRoux won’t be cowed & will remain steadfastly….unbowed !

  6. @DavidS: Ha ha DavidS – if you lived in NZ you would understand the history and why there is this mystique around the AB’s. The step up from the provincial sides to the AB level is massive in terms of performance and expectations from supporters, coaches and the players themselves. All Blacks present and past are revered in NZ and the pressure on the players themselves is massive.

    I felt sorry for Cruden who seemed a lonely figure running the lines as waterboy for his home province of Manawatu last weekend after his drinking binge saw him left behind when the AB’s travelled to Argentina. None of the locals had any sympathy for him and when I asked why I was told he can go out on the piss when playing for a provincial side but playing for the All Blacks he has to walk on water and be above the temptations the rest of us mere mortals succumb to every weekend.

  7. Interesting that Heyneke has reverted to Bismarck for this game. Although I rate an inform Bismarck as our best hooker, his primary hooking duties has been a bit suspect so far in the Championship.

    Hopefully he will spend a lot time this week with Matfield in line-out preparation.

  8. @out wide:

    Good for New Zealand… I bet the same mystique imbues teams like Man United, Ny Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Bayern Munich, Barcelona…

    It doesn’t mean they are indefatigible. It means that opponents buy into something that is mumbojumbo nonsense.

    If I were head of SARU I’d first off refuse to let them perform their silly little tribal dance before they play and just get on with it… they don’t get to “challenge” anyone in our country…

    If they want to do that come to World of Warriors and I’ll arrange a few mates fighting at EFC tonight to accept their challenge then they can play wheelchair rugby…

    As coach I would constantly show the pplayers these are humans. There is no mystique. England under SCW started to get through it in 2000 – 2003 and the Bob Dwyer Aussies too, but nobody else has followed on to actually get it over them.

    The worst of all is the refereeing international has clearly bought into the mystique and are intimidated by them as well.

  9. @DavidS:

    “If they want to do that come to World of Warriors and I’ll arrange a few mates fighting at EFC tonight to accept their challenge then they can play wheelchair rugby”

    Sounds like the type of stuff one tends to hear at certain school or club rugby matches, we might not beat you on the field but we sure as hell will beat you up afterwards.

    I hope one day we will move on from this mentality.

  10. @DavidS: David I am sure those soccer sides are revered in their cities and some other countries but the thing that defines the AB’s is that the country is 100% behind them.

    You might not know that the ref for Saturday is Wayne Barnes and if you told any kiwi that he is going to do the AB’s a favour on Saturday because he is intimidated by them they would have a good laugh given his history reffing them.

  11. On Bismarck starting ahead of Strauss, an idea expressed on NZ sports tonight was that he starts because Vermuelen will not. They heaped praise on Vermuelen’s play as well as his getting up AB’s noses with off the ball play in Wellington. Strange hearing commentators admire this but it is also part of some gameplans. Suggesting Vermuelen’s injury would rule him out for 3 weeks unless he played with pain killers, they wondered if Bismarck was brought in to take on Vermuelen’s off the ball role. This could be speculation – he might have been brought in because he is a better scrummager than Strauss but he has got a degree of mongrel in him at times.

  12. @Craven:

    I was going to write something about people challenging you in your own country but then remembered I already said it…

    Don’t worry about it…

    Smile and wave…

  13. Out Wide….

    Do you think Steve “Puffy” Hansen thinks he loses anything with Barret @10 vs Cruden?

  14. I agree on the silly dance…and it’s getting sillier and sillier.

    Special treatment for a few teams is an anachronism from the amateur game. If they need it to psych themselves up, they are always free to do it in the change room.

  15. @Jacques(Bunny):

    If he is not injured… no way you can ‘rest’ the cement in the Bok side… he has his limitations (not many) but he is the first guy I pencil in to my Bok side…

  16. @DavidS:

    You know whilst at many times I have felt the same about the ‘haka’… actually more than many… maybe I’m getting old… but I think it makes rugby union what it is… namely a historic form of sport… so keep it… and at the same time use it (for opposition) as a motivational tool…

  17. @Americano: Good question. Beauden is at # 3 in the AB’s flyhalf pecking order but is having a rare run of starts for the AB’s after Cruden was left behind in NZ when the AB’s set out on their round the world trip. Hansen may never let us know exactly how he rates Barrett. He can be as slippery as an eel when the journos question him and will use his dry sense of humour to deflect anything he doesn’t want to let out. Barrett will have to put in a good performance at Ellis Park to ward off the return of Cruden to the starting lineup for the Bledisloe 3 game v the Wallabies in Brisbane in 2 weeks. Dan Carter who is still considered to be #1, turned out for Canterbury and injured the leg he broke so for the near future it may only be Cruden that Barrett has to worry about.

Comments are closed.