Brothers have big steak in the Sharks' success
If you're after an insight into why the du Plessis brothers form one of the more formidable footy front rows, take a trip to the family farm as incoming Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd once did.
Boyd served as the Sharks' assistant coach in 2009 and 2010 and was once invited to visit the du Plessis duo, Bismarck and Jannie, at their homestead at Bethlehem in South Africa's heartland.
"My memory of the boys is going to their farm and having brunch on a Sunday morning. Mrs du Plessis served us a T-bone steak and there was no room for anything else on the plate," Boyd said.
"We were up there on the [high] veld and there was no English spoken as a first language. It's a very different part of the world. They're unbelievably hospitable people. They're a great family."
Bismarck du Plessis, 30, who has racked up 60 tests for South Africa since debuting in 2007, was one of the most consummate professionals Boyd had encountered during his coaching career.
"Bismarck was always going to be potentially the best hooker in the world. He's physically imposing and he's also outstanding in his role," Boyd said.
Every day after training at Kings Park, he would go through his lineout throwing routine 100 to 200 times."
Jannie du Plessis, 31, is a rugby renaissance man. The 121kg tighthead has played 54 tests for the Boks since 2007, but he's also a qualified doctor who has worked with HIV sufferers at Durban's military hospital.
The brothers pack down against the Crusaders' All Blacks front row trio in tonight's semifinal at AMI Stadium.
But Sharks coach Jake White is still questioning the playoffs format.
"Sanzar is going to have to have a long look about whether or not we should have quarterfinals and playoffs because we are wasting a lot of time, a lot of money," White said in Christchurch.
He advocated a smaller competition with a full round-robin and no final series.
"In a smaller competition everyone plays. Player welfare comes first, national teams come first but that's never going to happen when you're trying to sell 169 rugby games on TV, as opposed to 55 rugby games on TV."