Du Plessis raring to go for DHL WP

PUBLISHED: July 3, 2024

Playmaker Jean-Luc du Plessis can’t wait to get going again as DHL Western Province kick off their Carling Currie Cup campaign at DHL Stadium on Sunday.

DHL WP will be looking to add to their record 34 Carling Currie Cup titles when action gets under way this week.

The world’s oldest domestic rugby competition will see DHL WP wear the iconic blue and white hoops in 10 league fixtures before the knock-outs.

Their first fixture is a north-south clash with the Vodacom Bulls at DHL Stadium, and Du Plessis is relishing the opportunity to get some minutes under his belt.

“The squad has been raring to go for a while now, especially those who maybe didn’t receive a lot of opportunities with the DHL Stormers in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Investec Champions Cup,” he said.

“For me, it’s another chance for game time in the blue and white hoops, and to get my match fitness and sharpness up and see how I can influence and positively contribute to the team.”

The Carling Currie Cup goes ahead as scheduled, albeit in a revamped format as one of the results of a ground-breaking alignment between employers and players to maximise player welfare, and Du Plessis welcomes the positive outcome.

“The Carling Currie Cup and the DHL WP jersey still means a lot to the players and this union, and I think everyone was relieved that a decision was made and we get to play,” he explained.

“DHL WP has a lot of history in this competition and the players are hungry for game time and to get out on the field and play the game we love.

“The end goal is to lift the trophy yet that’s still a long way down the line and we’ll definitely take it week by week. But we’re definitely going out there to perform well.”

Du Plessis is also excited to fulfil a mentorship role as part of a strong leadership group.

“It is always nice when there is a good group of youngsters willing to learn and work hard, and that makes the senior players’ jobs easier,” he said.

“It’s definitely a part of the Carling Currie Cup that I enjoy and look forward to, it’s very special.

“I enjoyed the role last year and I think it suits me, it also helps me in certain aspects of my game like decision-making.

“But there’s a good group of core leaders and we as senior players have got together and we’re all on the same page and have our different departments.”

Turning his attention to the challenge the Vodacom Bulls will present this weekend, Du Plessis expects a fierce contest against a team that DHL WP beat home and away in the Carling Currie Cup last season.

“Every time you get to put on the famous blue and white hooped jersey there’s a lot of inspiration to perform well. And to have our competition opener at DHL Stadium against the old foes the Vodacom Bulls, we don’t need any added motivation.

“It’s going to be a good game and I’m looking forward to it, and hopefully we do right by our supporters and the union and get a good result.

“One thing that this team will be built upon is desire and effort. Last season we performed well against the Vodacom Bulls, getting the win up there at Loftus Versfeld and then down here.

“We know the Vodacom Bulls are going to be a tough challenge and have a lot of depth and good players,” he said.

“But there certainly will be no lack of desire or effort from our side come Sunday.”