Bismarck du Plessis, the uncompromising former Bok hard man. Learn about his life and career with Rugby365, your resident rugby gurus. Click here for more.
Bismarck du Plessis
Bismarck du Plessis is widely regarded as one of the best hookers in world rugby, with his skills in the loose and power in the scrum making him the complete package in the number two shirt. He had to endure a tough wrestle with captain John Smit for a starting berth, however, and was consequently often used as an impact player.
Bismarck du Plessis was born on 22 May 1984 in Bethlehem and completed his schooling at the famous Grey College in Bloemfontein. He has a B.Comm Economics degree from 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 Super Rugby career. Bismarck du Plessis made his Super 12 debut for the Sharks in 2005 but saw his first-team opportunities limited by the presence of Smit.
However, the man from Bethlehem in the Free State impressed in his role as an understudy and earned his first Springbok cap coming on as a replacement in the Tri-Nations defeat to Australia in Sydney in 2007. This was a historic occasion as his brother Jannie also made his Springbok debut in the match.
Recognised globally as one of the most powerful and effective forwards in the modern game, Bismarck du Plessis combined great physical strength on and off the ball while also having immense drive and work on and off the field.
The key moment in Bismarck du Plessis's career came at the tail end of 2008 when South Africa decided to move John Smit to tight-head to facilitate the inclusion of Du Plessis in the front row. This enabled Du Plessis to play an integral role in the Springboks' series victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2009 as he went about establishing himself as one of the finest hookers in world rugby.
Bismarck du Plessis was often seen as an abrasive character who could sometimes let his aggression get the better of him - he was cited for an eye-gouge on New Zealand's Adam Thompson in 2008 Tri-Nations (now The Rugby Championship) - but he was always a dynamic and athletic front row as you are likely to find in the game and considered one of the more inspirational figures of Springbok rugby.
The abrasive hooker left Montpellier in June 2021, a year before the end of his contract. In six seasons in France, Bismarck du Plessis played 108 games for Montpellier, scoring 27 tries, and was part of the squad that twice won the European Challenge Cup (2016, 2021).
Du Plessis has various business interests that he intends to pursue in the near future, one of which is a wine brand called the Rugby Field Vineyard.