Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
8 Apr 2022
4:42 pm

White on North-South derby: Bismarck ‘slap incident’ adds to banter, hype

Ken Borland

“It’s wonderful that the classic North/South derby has such spice, my reserve hooker is getting more air-time than the actual game itself."

Bismarck du Plessis is in the news after this week's Currie Cup match between the Bulls and WP. Picture: Gallo Images

Bulls coach Jake White is not even waiting for the outcome of Bismarck du Plessis’ disciplinary hearing later on Friday and has declared himself “100% sure” that the veteran Springbok hooker will run out at some stage on Saturday at the Cape Town Stadium to take on the Stormers in their crunch United Rugby Championship match.

The Western Cape has been in uproar since Du Plessis appeared to slap Western Province lock Ben-Jason Dixon, who was illegally holding on to his leg as he tried to leave a ruck, in their midweek Currie Cup match, with captain Nama Xaba calling it a “strike to the face” and the local media describing it as a punch.

Western Province went ahead and cited Du Plessis, no doubt looking to disrupt the Bulls as much as possible ahead of the vital URC clash in Cape Town. White said it was a great sign of how much is at stake on Saturday and how desperate the home side are for any possible edge.

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“I’m 100% sure Bismarck will run out and play,” White said on Friday after naming Du Plessis on his replacements bench. “I see a Western Province player thinks Bismarck slapped him.

“I didn’t realise you could be cited for someone thinking you had slapped him. Bongi Mbonambi punched Bismarck recently and there was no citing. But there has been massive publicity over Bismarck.

“It’s wonderful that the classic North/South derby has such spice, my reserve hooker is getting more air-time than the actual game itself. I hope they have spent the whole week looking on social media for a video.

“But it’s fantastic, it’s going to be like when I was a kid, Gerhard Viviers and Chick Henderson talking about the game, a bit of banter flying around, lots of hype, Naas Botha versus Hennie Bekker,” White grinned.

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With the Stormers topping the South African conference of the URC on 43 points and the Bulls just one point behind them, the match is vital for both sides as they aim for a guaranteed place in the playoffs. White said he also hoped it was a tremendous afternoon for South African rugby in general.

“I hope there’s a massive crowd and it’s an unbelievable game. Like Doc Craven always said, South African rugby is strong when Northern Transvaal and Western Province are strong, and hopefully we can showcase that.”