Durban – New Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis will be counting on the support of his predecessor Keegan Daniel in the pre-season friendly against English club Saracens in London on Saturday.
The Springbok hooker, who was the natural choice by incoming director of rugby Jake White, said he had the full backing of the former skipper following the change of leadership last week.
“The first guy that came to me was Keegan and I must say he's fully supported me,” Du Plessis said on Tuesday.
“He's a really important player to this side and I've asked him to help with the calls, just like I did when he was captain. He's definitely agreed to that.”
Apart from Daniel, the 57-Test veteran would be counting on the help of his three deputies Odwa Ndungane, Jean Deysel and Patrick Lambie as well as some of the other ex-captains in the side.
John Smit, the former national captain and Sharks chief executive officer, would also be asked to help with his leadership.
“John has plenty of experience and I'll definitely be leaning on him,” Du Plessis said.
“We also have guys like Frans Steyn, Jean Deysel and several others who've already captained the Sharks, so there's a lot of leaders and that will definitely help me during the course of the season.
“In Super Rugby I don’t think one player can play all 80
minutes, so it's important to have leaders around to help.”
The 29-year-old, who has over 100 Super Rugby caps, felt his new role was just reward for his commitment to the KwaZulu-Natal union.
“I wouldn't be in Durban if it (playing for the Sharks) didn’t mean a lot to me.
“I really love the Sharks and they've been really good for me in the last almost-10 years I've been here.
“So it's a big privilege and a big honour for me. I'm really excited about this new leadership role in the side.”
The Sharks kick-off their Super Rugby season against the Bulls on February 15 at Kings Park.
Du Plessis felt they had a good enough squad to win the southern hemisphere's premier club competition, although he did not want to make too many predictions.
“It will be nice to win Super Rugby, but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. If you do that, you'll end up stumbling more often than not.
“So we'll look at things game-by-game. We've got a strong side and will definitely back ourselves to win.” – Sapa