While new Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is in no hurry to name his Test captain - Sharks star Bismarck du Plessis has put his hand up for the job, with his added leadership responsibilities in Durban set to help him evolve as a player.
Du Plessis will begin a new chapter in his career this season with John Smit's shadow no longer hanging over him at the Sharks and no tricky questions at press conferences about who should wear the No.2 jersey at national level.
At the same time, however, the 27-year-old will also be taking on a new leadership role as vice-captain of the Sharks this year.
"It's a little bit different being in a leadership role because normally I'd just be listening and now there will be more talking required of me," Du Plessis told this website.
The tough front row forward never takes a step back on the field and believes that the captaincy is simply the latest stage in his development as a player.
"I'd like to be captain and to lead a team is a very proud moment, so I'm honoured to have been asked by the coach to lead the side with Keegan [Daniel]," he explained.
Without an obvious successor to the Bok captaincy - following the retirement of Smit and Victor Matfield - there is no reason why Du Plesssis's name should not be in the hat for the job.
"If I was offered the Springbok captaincy I'd happily accept it, but there are other great leaders out there," Du Plessis said with a shy smile at the prospect of leading his country.
"(But) firstly I need to play well and be number one in my position before I can think about anything like that," he quickly added.
Looking at the Bok set-up, the world-class rake admits to having plenty of admiration for new Bok mentor Meyer, and the pair could in theory form a strong working relationship.
"Heyneke's pedigree speaks for itself; he's a great strategist who has won every available trophy in South African rugby with the Bulls," Du Plessis remarked. "If I had the privilege to work with him I'd be honoured, as I think he's a great coach."
The pair have an interesting, albeit brief, history and Du Plessis revealed: "He helped us when I played SA Schools [in 2001-02]. I had some contact with him straight after school when I almost moved to the Bulls, but otherwise I haven't had a lot of contact with him."
However, Du Plessis and the Sharks must first tackle the new Super Rugby season where his leadership credentials can be tested out on the pitch and, on that note, the powerhouse forward is looking forward to wearing Black & White again.
Of course, the Sharks have never won a Super Rugby title - despite reaching the final on occasions, most famously when they lost to Meyer's Bulls in 2007 - but Du Plessis would love nothing more than the Durbanites finally getting that monkey off their backs in 2012.
"We're looking forward to the new season and we have some exciting youngsters coming through, so there is no reason why we can't improve on our track record," he said.
"Nobody at the Sharks has ever won the title, so hopefully we can change that this season."
By Timmy Hancox
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