Durban - There’s plenty of excitement around the emergence of Sharks loose forward twins Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez, especially following their powerful performances during the Durban side’s convincing win over the Southern Kings.
The Sharks scored six tries en route to a 43-8 bonus-point victory over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Some of the major positives from the team’s performance were their improved attack and defence compared to the disappointing efforts in 2015, as well as the exciting combinations among the forwards and backs. There were many impressive individual performances too, most notably from the Du Preez twins.
The loose forward duo made a valuable contribution on and off the ball during their first Super Rugby starts. They carried possession powerfully, giving the Sharks regular go-forward ball, while they also provided a strong influence on defence and at the breakdowns.
Jean-Luc completed a good showing from the young guns (who turn 21 in August) with a try during the first half - holding off two defenders from close range to stretch over for the Sharks’ second try.
Sharks fans will be raving about the Kearsney College old boys’ positive promotion to the Super Rugby squad. And according to brother Dan, the twins complement each other in the loose trio.
“We always manage to bring the best out of each other,” Dan du Preez told MyPlayers. “I started my career at lock at schoolboy level, but it’s been great packing down with Jean-Luc among the loose forwards. We motivate each other and support each other really well.
“Super Rugby is definitely a step-up... the pace is much faster at this level. We need to ensure we adapt as quickly as possible. The competition in the loose department is also really tough, but at the same time, that competition brings out the best of every player.
“Our goal is to play as many games for the Sharks during Super Rugby as possible and to make a valuable contribution to the team’s goal of qualifying for the playoffs. We know we have to play really well to keep our place in the team.”
Dan added that there’s a confident mood in the Sharks squad after a good pre-season.
“The trip to France brought the players closer. While it was great to experience a foreign environment and play against top clubs in Toulon and Toulouse, we did a lot of team-building activities,” said Dan du Preez, who managed to make his brief Super Rugby debut off the bench against the Western Force in 2015.
“The Sharks also have a strong leadership core this season. Guys like Pat Lambie, Tendai Mtawarira and Jean Deysel are guys we can always turn to when we need advice. They always offer their time during training, which helps a lot.”
There’s an interesting Du Preez family connection during Super Rugby this season.
The Du Preez twins are coached by father Robert, who is an assistant coach at the Durban-based franchise. Robert senior is a former Springbok and Sharks scrumhalf, who coached the Leopards to the Currie Cup First Division title last season.
Older brother, Robert junior, starred for the Stormers at flyhalf last weekend, scoring 23 points during the Cape side’s 33-9 victory over the Bulls at Newlands. All three Du Preez brothers have represented South Africa at Under-20 level.
“Being coached by our dad was strange at first! But we’re used to it now and things remain very professional. It’s great working with him as he’s always been one of our mentors,” explained Dan.
“It’s also great seeing Robert doing well at the Stormers. We hope to play against him during the competition as we’ve never played against him before. That will definitely be an interesting experience!”
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