Experienced playmaker Jean-Luc du Plessis is excited to be back in the blue and white hoops of DHL Western Province in the Currie Cup this season.
The 28-year-old returned to Cape Town after a few seasons in Japan and featured for the DHL Stormers in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship this season before playing a key role in DHL Western Province’s bonus-point win against the Fidelity ADT Lions in Johannesburg last week.
The son of the legendary ‘Prince of Wings’, Carel du Plessis, Jean-Luc jumped at the opportunity to be reunited with his former team and he can’t wait to challenge for one of rugby’s oldest trophies under the guidance of Head Coach John Dobson.
“It’s always been a dream of mine since I was a little boy to lift the Currie Cup in the blue-and white hooped jersey,” said Du Plessis.
“I’ve been on my travels the last couple of years but really excited to be back in Cape Town and playing in the famous blue and white, and also to be back in the hunt for the Currie Cup.
“We’re very happy to start the campaign off with five match points – there were a lot of positives to take out and build on. It’s also a big boost for us to have Dobbo, Dawie [Snyman] and Norman [Laker] and all the other Vodacom URC coaches on board helping out and involved with the Currie Cup this season. It adds a lot to our game and preparation, and gives us a lot of confidence to have everyone pulling in the same direction.”
Du Plessis’ experience will be invaluable to a youthful team, and he is relishing the role of a mentor to the class of 2023.
“We’ve got a young group of very exciting Currie Cup players who I’m sure will make their mark on the tournament and really step up and ignite their careers, and I’m excited to be a part of that,” he said.
“As a senior player, I need to help guide them in the right direction, especially in different in-game scenarios, keep them calm and motivated.”
While his preferred position is flyhalf, Du Plessis is maximising his value and adding another dimension for DHL WP with a shift to centre.
“I had a chat with the coaches a couple of months ago and they said I might have to cover centre this season, so it wasn’t something that was sprung on me. I’m more than happy to fill in and help the team where needed.
“It’ll take a few games for myself and the team to play together for everything to click and get into a rhythm, whether that be organising defence, being an extra playmaker or an extra kicking option. We’ll see the full value of that as the season kicks into gear.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Capetonians this week with a trip to Pretoria on Friday to face the Vodacom Bulls, yet Du Plessis believes DHL WP is up to the task.
“We know they’ll be hurting, and we also know they’re a better side; that was a bit of a freak result. They’ll come out with a strong team and look to bounce back.
“But, we’re also confident in our ability, intensity and determination. It’s going to be a tough one but we’re ready and looking forward to it, and hopefully it’ll make the victory sweeter at the end.”