Dan du Plessis will thunder into the Vodacom United Rugby Championship semi-final eager to add his own chapter to the storied rugby history of a family of former Springboks.
The son of Michael and nephew of former Springbok and Western Province players Carel and Willie du Plessis, Dan comes from a renowned rugby family. It’s something he takes in his stride.
“I don’t really like to put that weight on my shoulders. It’s not really pressure, more of an honour to represent the family name,” said Du Plessis.
“Of course, there is a rich history in the Du Plessis family. I have taken what I can from my dad and family and have tried to put that on the field.”
Du Plessis is enjoying arguably his best season for the Stormers, as an injury-free run of games has allowed him to start reaching his potential.
This has led to calls for him to get a call-up into the Springbok squad, but the 28-year-old is happy to bide his time and keep up his excellent performances.
“Since I started playing, it has always been a goal to get to the green and gold jersey. For most players, that is their goal. I can only do what I do on the weekend and prove my worth. For me, my focus is on contributing to the team and what comes after that is not up to me.”
Of immediate concern for Du Plessis, will be helping the Stormers progress past Connacht into the Vodacom URC final. The Irish side produced one of the upsets of the season when they stunned Ulster in Belfast in last week’s quarter-final, a result which presented the Stormers with the opportunity to host a semi-final.
“I watched that game on Friday night, hoping for the better outcome for us,” he said. “Immediately one of the first things that I picked up is they have that dogfight in them.
“They battle for every ruck, every ball. You can see that they are playing for each other on the field and that makes them quite a threat. But we also have our own character and we are a strong team as well.”
Du Plessis has this season formed a solid midfield combination with Ruhan Nel, which has been a core part of the Stormers’ drive to defend their title.
“I get a lot of confidence from him,” said Du Plessis. “Hopefully he gets some confidence from playing next to me. His personality on the field gives the other guys confidence, especially on defence with the way he goes for reads and communicates, it helps me a lot.”
Du Plessis says there is a calmness in the camp as the Stormers prepare for potentially their two biggest games of the season.
“We have learned a lot of lessons this season, important lessons. Especially more recently, like in the game against Exeter Chiefs. We know if we stick to our own jobs, stay in our lane, everything will come together. We just have to trust our systems and everything will come together on Saturday.”
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