The not so little star of Bethlehem

The colussus that is Bismarck du Plessis will earn his 100th Super Rugby cap when he takes to the field in tomorrow’s  Super 15 Final.

Bismarck has always been a humble, family orientated type of guy (having grown up on a farm in the South African hinterland) who has always maintained his surprise at being considered one of the best hookers the game has ever seen.

Despite this, I would argue that his destiny has always been written in the stars for the following reasons:

  • He was born in Bethlehem…the one in the Orange Free State, but still…that’s got to count for something right?!
  • He has the same name as a kick-ass German battleship and weighs 113kg – he wasn’t exactly going to take-up improvised dance with those kinda credentials
  • He was born on 22/05/84 – add those up and you get 111…..Hello!! 3 wise men…see where I’m going with this?! Coincidence…I think not?
  • His favourite film is ‘Legends of the Fall’. It was a crap film, BUT it contains the word ‘Legend’…spooky
  • He’s the top Springbok try-scorer as a hooker, 6 in total – deal with that little info-nugget Sean Fitzpatrick! Oh wait, Fitzpatrick scored 12?! Well not for the Boks he didn’t!

Bismarck du Plessis…has been known to reinact the Batlle of Blood River in his spare time.



Dear Dr Jannie: The 6th Letter

Dear Dr Jannie,

I love my husband very much but lately it seems that his only interests in life are watching rugby and drinking beer.

We’ve just recently moved into a new house and there’s a lot that needs doing around the place, but with the games being on so early in the morning and with his insistence on having a few beers whilst watching them, absolutely nothing is getting done! It’s REALLY driving me mad!

Are all men like this Dr Jannie? What happened to the sensitive caring man I married?

Please help Dr Jannie! I want my sweet old Jermaine back!

Deeply Frustrated.  

Dear Deeply Frustrated,

When Bismarck and I were growing up on the farm the highlight of our school holidays was when Groot Oupa would take us on a trip into town for what he liked to call a “Cultural Experience”.

We’d get dressed up, which meant wearing something other than just PE shorts, and set off down the dirt road in the back of his Bakkie, whilst munching on some of Mummy’s special Pad Kos.

On one particular occasion we were especially excited to learn that we were headed for the Civic Theatre to see a student production of the famous musical “Cats”! Bismarck and I had never seen a musical before let alone set foot inside a theatre, so as I’m sure you can imagine we were a bundle of nerves beforehand.

As the first half of the show was drawing to a close Bismarck lent over to me and whispered in my ear: “Hey Jannie, you dick, check what I’ve got!”. I looked down towards his lap and there in his hand was Groot Oupa’s whiskey hip-flask. Before I could say anything he’d vanished from his seat and was making a beeline towards the mens’ bathroom.

About 25 minutes into the second half the auditorium doors flew open and Bismarck staggered in. He had a horrible brown stain down the front of his shirt and it was quite clear to all that he was blind drunk. Groot Oupa looked furious and tried to signal for him to leave the theatre but unfortunately Bismarck seemed hypnotized by the rhythms of the music and stumbled towards its source.

It was a crucial part of the show, just as Mr Mistoffelees was about to perform his dance solo when Bismarck stormed onto the stage and made a pathetic attempt to tackle him. Mr Mistoffelees stood unmoved as Bismarck fell to the floor laughing hysterically and shouting: “Jannie, you diiiiick! Look at me! I’m a staaar! I’m a staaar!”.

The crowd erupted in a chorus of boos and security was called to escort us from the building.

Naturally, we were banned from ever returning again and that put an end to our “Cultural Experience” trips with Groot Oupa.

I hope this story helps you to realise just how lucky you are to have a man like Jermaine in your life.

Go well,

Dr Jannie.

Dear Dr Jannie: The 5th Letter

Dear Dr Jannie, 

I’m not sure if you can help me but I’ve no one else to turn to.

My Father is something of a control freak and added to that he’s an extremely successful lawyer. I’ve had my entire life mapped out for me since I can remember and now find myself in a very unsatisfying position of climbing the ladder in a career that I neither care about nor have any interest in whatsoever.

I’m tired of trying to be someone who my Father wants me to be. I can’t live up to his standards. I’m 99% sure that if I open up to him he won’t understand and that our already rocky relationship will cease to exist completely.

Help me Dr Jannie, please help me!

Aching to be free.


Dear Aching to be free,

When Bismarck and I were growing up on the farm Mummy used to keep track of our good behaviour with a star chat which she kept pinned to the kitchen wall. The concept was simple: 5 gold stars would result in a reward for the well-behaved son, but on the flip side even the most minor of indiscretions would lead to a star being removed from the offending bad boys’ total.

For a number of reasons, one being his uncontrolled rage, Bismarck never quite managed to crack the magic number of 5 gold Stars, and I knew it was starting to bug him. I can clearly remember seeing the burning jealousy on his face one evening as I enjoyed the prize of an extra plate of meat at supper: “Eat up Fatty” he hissed at me before storming off from the table in a huff.

After that Bismarck really made an effort to keep his anger bottled up and to appear like a normal boy. Eventually his hard work paid off in the form of 4 gold stars, his best achievement yet. One more star and he would’ve been seen as the “Good Son”, something I wasn’t about to let happen.

Now I knew that the easiest way to get Bismarck to snap would be by mentioning something saucy about “Antjie” and decided that the supper table would be the perfect place for this happen. That night, to get things rolling I gave his shin a sharp kick under the table and followed it up with a cheeky extended index finger. Then, when Mummy wasn’t looking I turned to Bismarck and whispered: “I saw Anjtie in her bikini down at the dam“, sat back and waited for the fireworks to begin. About 5 seconds passed before he suddenly shot up from his seat, grabbed a fistful of mashed potato and slammed it into my face whilst screaming: “Eat this Jannie, you dick!!! Eat this!”. Mummy cried out in horror and before I knew it Groot Opua had wrestled Bismarck into a “Camel Clutch Headlock”,  which as I’m sure you can imagine brought  about a swift end to our supper.

Needless to say Bismarck never made the step up to the “Good Son”, and although I’m not particularly proud of my actions, I do believe that sometimes good boys do need to play dirty.

Be who you need to be “Aching to be free”, and go well!

Dr Jannie

Dear Dr Jannie: The 4th Letter

Dear Dr Jannie,

I’ve probably made the biggest mistake of my life and I really need your help!

A couple of weeks ago my best friend was out of the country on business. I was home alone one evening when his girlfriend of 6 years stopped by to pick up some DVD’s. Now there’s always been a bit of chemistry between the two of us but nothing’s ever happened and I never expected anything to.
I don’t know what it was that night Dr Jannie, maybe it was the combination of a few glasses of red wine and the Bobby van Jaarsveld CD that I had playing on the stereo, but regardless, one thing led to another and the next thing I knew we were having intimate relations on the couch.

I feel sick to my stomach with guilt and have been avoiding my friend ever since he returned. I’m worried that if I tell him our friendship will be over, but at the same time I cannot continue to live in this state of anguish.

Please help!

Racked with guilt.


Dear Racked with guilt,

When Bismarck and I were growing up on the farm we were both secretly in love with the neighbouring farmers’ eldest daughter, Antjie.

She was a beautiful girl with lovely strawberry blonde hair and a real skill for operating a combine harvester. It was love at first sight for the both of us and I still remember the moment we first laid eyes on her like it was yesterday.

One afternoon as Bismarck and I were walking back from choir practice we saw Anjtie out in the field battling to get the harvester started. Bismarck dropped his satchel and turned to me and said: “Get lost Jannie you dick, I’ll take care of this one“, before disappearing in a cloud of dust.

Now normally I would have listened to Bismarck and just made my way back to the farmhouse, but love can make you do funny things and I wasn’t about to let him steal the show.

I tucked in my shirt, picked up his satchel and made my way over to Blitzkrieg’s enclosure, where I carefully placed the largest of his poops into Bismarcks’ bag. Initially, the idea was to let Bismarck find the nasty surprise for himself, but when I saw that he had taken off his shirt to help Antjie with the harvester I knew that that wouldn’t be enough. I walked over to where they were, said “Hi” to Antjie, gave her the satchel and asked her to let Bismarck know that Mummy wanted him home in 10 minutes for “bath time”.

Do what you need to do, Racked with guilt, and go well.

Dr Jannie.

Dear Dr Jannie: The 3rd letter

Dear Dr Jannie,

I’m a 24-year-old man and I’m already starting to lose my hair, and with it, my confidence.

I’ve never been particularly successful with the ladies and now with my rapidly receding hairline I’m worried that things are only going to get worse for me in this department.

I’ve tried all the various “off the shelf” remedies but unfortunately they’ve had absolutely no effect at all.

My question to you Dr Jannie is:

“Comb Over” or “Clean Shaven”?

What do the ladies prefer?

Follically Challenged

Dear Follically Challenged

When Bismarck and I were growing up on the farm “Groot Oupa” used to make us toss a coin to see who’s turn it would be to shave his back.

Now if you had met Groot Oupa you’d know that this was definitely not a task for the faint of heart.

The best way to describe the man would be as a cross between a St Bernard and a Puff Adder. I used to dread the experience of being shut in the garage with him, with nothing but a bucket of warm water, a rusty old BiC razor blade and some Bless Bridges softly playing on the radio. Thankfully, through my medical training, I’ve learnt to deal with those painful memories.

Bismarck on the other hand, well, I swear he used to love performing this task.
Whenever he “won” the coin toss he could barely hide the excitement on his face and on one occasion he even blurted out “Suck Jannie, you dick! It’s my turn!” before rushing off outside to the garage.

On the occasions when Bismarck was not needed he did an OK job of disguising his disappointment, but I did start to notice a disturbing coincidence between his “losing” and that of our family dog “Blitzkrieg”  having sections of fur missing from his back.

Take from this what you can and move forward with confidence.

Go well!

Dr Jannie.

Dear Dr Jannie: The 2nd letter

Dear Dr Jannie,

I’m not a man of many words, so I’ll keep this short.

I’m worried about my son. He’s ten years old and he enjoys doing things like playing with dolls, sewing, dancing and watching Oprah.
He has no interest in sports or any of the normal things that a boy his age should have.
I’m starting to get worried now.

Please help.

Concerned Dad.


Dear Concerned Dad,

When Bismarck and I were growing up on the farm we used to share a bedroom. The only rule we had was that if the door was shut, then one should knock and await a response before entering. It was Bismarck’s idea and I must admit that at the time I found his suggestion a little strange.

One day I was out in the garden practising my drop kicks when I suprisingly connected one sweetly. The ball flew off of my bare foot and seemed to travel for a mile.
I lept with joy and raced up the stairs eager to tell Bismarck what had just happened, but alas, in my excited state, I broke the one and only bedroom rule and barged straight in.

Bismarck spun around in horror, his face red with rage. We both froze like statues and just stood there staring at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Then all of a sudden Bismarck erputed and started screaming “Get out Jannie, get the hell out of here you dick!!”  I was shaken. Bismarck was furious.

As I started to back out of the room it dawned on me that his face was quite a bit redder than the usual shade displayed when he’s angry. That’s when I noticed Mummy’s make-up kit open on the table, a few of her Sunday dresses on his bed and a pair of her high heels already on his feet.

I shut the door, walked outside and continued practising my drop kicks.

Go well Concerned Dad, go well.

Dr Jannie.

Dear Dr Jannie

Big Daddy Rugby are proud to welcome aboard our own in-house Doctor, Dr Jannie,  who’ll be happy to answer any  medical related questions or offer advice to readers who may be experiencing personal difficulties. First up we have a letter from a reader in Goodwood:

Dear Dr Jannie,

My wife and I have been happily married for 5 years now. We’ve had our ups and downs, like all couples do, but we’ve always managed to pull through the bad times and I believe that we have grown closer together over the years.

But that is all about to change now.

Last night I was online trying to buy tickets for the “Gospel Skouspel” show later this year when I discovered, to my horror,  that my wife has been searching for pictures of “Pierre Spies with his shirt off” and “CJ Van der Linde in a speedo”. There were even a few search terms that I just don’t feel comfortable putting in my letter to you Dr Jannie!

I really felt like I had just been kicked in the guts. It was as if my whole world had come crashing down around me. Darkness everywhere.

I haven’t spoken to my wife about this yet Dr Jannie because I’m just too upset right now. She knows something isn’t right and has tried to get me to talk but I keep choking up at the thought of her googling for indecent images of these guys.

How can I compete with that? What should I do? Please help Dr Jannie!

A Broken man.

Dear Broken man,

When Bismarck and I were growing up on the farm we used to play this game that we called “Broer trust”.

Bismarck would stand in front of me with his eyes closed and fall backwards, where I would catch him in my arms just before he hit the ground.
When it came my turn to fall Bismarck, without fail, would let me drop. He would crack up laughing and say things like “Jannie you dick, you trusted me again, who’s the clever brother now hey?!”
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t hurt, both physically and emotionally, but you know what, I decided that the joy Bismarck got from seeing me writhe in pain on the ground was worth a bruised back (and ego).

I trust that this story from our past will shed some light onto your situation.

Good luck Broken Man!

Dr Jannie.

What to do with old man John Smit?

A photo of John Smit taken during his more youthful days as a Bok captain.

With Pieter De Villiers announcing today that John Smit would be the captain of the Bok team that heads to New Zealand one question more than any other is on supporters’ minds:

How exactly will John Smit be used in New Zealand?

Sure, we all know he is the greatest leader of rugby players this country has ever produced (hat tip to Francois Pienaar) and an all around nice guy (hat tip to you John Smit), but the impressive performance of both Bismarck Du Plessis and Deon Fourie have made many question whether Smit would make it as first choice hooker on playing ability alone.

I think we can agree, probably not.  He is being picked because he is to the Bok team what Yoda was to Luke Skywalker. Bloody important. The Bok team just isn’t the same without him. They crumble into jelly legged Straeuli-era shadows of themselves without the ice-cool leadership of Barney.

So here are some options for PdV when it comes to finding a spot for our Yoda:

  • Start with Smit at hooker and move him to prop for the 2nd half when Bismarck Du Plessis is brought on.
  • Start with Bismarck and bring on John with ten minutes to go – or at any hint of a choke.
  • Waterboy and kicking tee bringer-onner.  He could always whisper his magic words into the Bok huddle at that point (“Afraid of yourselves, do not be” or words to that effect)
  • Team Mascot – Victor could bring him out out of the team tunnel during the run-on and John could sit at the half way flag giving icey-stares to opposition players and performing secret hand-gestures to Victor Matfield throughout the game.
Well… I hope Rassie and PdV are working on some combination of the above.  Any other ideas?