Bright future predicted for big Jacques du Plessis

2013-06-12 00:00

THE huge physical presence of blond South Africa U20 flanker Jacques du Plessis has become a familiar sight at the IRB Junior World Championship in France after two standout performances for the Junior Springboks in the number seven jersey.

Du Plessis, who hails from Pongola, is an imposing 2,01 metres tall and weighs in at 119 kg. He is an extremely mobile player despite his huge frame and is equally at home as flank, number eight and lock forward.

He represented the Pumas as number eight at the U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, and in 2011 played for the SA Schools team as a lock and utility forward. But it is his incredibly high work rate from the side of the scrum that has made him one of the best players of the tournament so far.

Du Plessis could easily have been an athletics star for South Africa. While in Grade 11, he won a gold medal in the discus event at the World Youth Championships in Singapore, but luckily for the Junior Boks, he decided to pursue a career in rugby.

“I loved athletics and participated in both sports codes [including rugby] while at school. Athletics helped me a lot with my fitness and agility, but rugby was always my first love,” explains Du Plessis.

SA U20 coach Dawie Theron lauded the player’s ability to cross the advantage line as a ball carrier and to get around the field to make vital tackles for his team.

“He has the potential to develop into a future star for South Africa. Jacques has a special presence on the field and he has many great attributes, which make him such a good player. He is very effective when going forward and is extremely athletic for a player of his size. Apart from his athletic ability, he also has a high work rate and such good feel for the game,” said Theron.

Du Plessis first caught the attention while playing in the schoolboy colours of the Pumas at the nursery of South African rugby, Craven Week, where so many current Springboks and Junior Springboks first made their mark on the rugby field.

“We spotted him while playing for the Pumas at Craven Weeks and subsequently selected him for the SA Schools team. I think the past season at the Blue Bulls has really improved his game and his lineout play is nowadays much better. I am very satisfied with his performances for the SA U20s so far at the JWC in France,” said Theron.

Du Plessis is expected to play another major role in South Africa’s forward onslaught when the Junior Boks play hosts France tomorrow in their last remaining Pool A match. South Africa are currently top of their pool standings, with nine points after wins over the United States and England.

The JWC runs until June 23 across three venues in France.

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