Teenage sensation Muller du Plessis says he is excited by the prospect of shifting his focus to fifteens for a while, after a successful spell with the Blitzboks.
This time last year, Du Plessis was a matric pupil at Paarl Gimnasium and captain of the 1st XV, churning out one memorable performance after the other. He was subsequently invited to join the SA Sevens Academy in Stellenbosch late last year and has since been fast-tracked into the Blitzboks set-up.
Du Plessis has played in four tournaments of this season’s World Rugby Sevens Series, after making his debut in Las Vegas, scoring 11 tries.
And to cap off a whirlwind first season as a professional, he has now been included in the Junior Boks squad for the upcoming U20 Championship in France, effectively ruling him out of the two remaining sevens tournaments in London and Paris. But Du Plessis says he is happy to divide his time between the sevens and fifteens disciplines for now without the picking one over the other.
‘It’s a privilege for me to play for South Africa, regardless of whether it’s fifteens or sevens. I’ll always be available when there is an opportunity for me to play for our country. At this stage, I don’t really prefer one format over the other,’ Du Plessis told SARugbymag.co.za.
‘It has been a bit of an adjustment to train with a much bigger squad compared to that of the Blitzboks. It took a while to get used to the fifteens system again, particularly the defensive structure of the Junior Boks, but I’ve worked hard with the coaches since linking up with the team in the UK and I’m ready and excited for the U20 Championship.’
At 18, Du Plessis is the youngest member in the group but is unfazed by the enormity of the challenges that lie ahead in the next couple of weeks.
‘Because I’ve played with and against most of my teammates over the past two or three years at school level, Craven Week and for SA Schools, I’m quite comfortable with them even if they are a year or two older,’ he said.
‘I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most – just running out on the field with good friends for the first time in a while.’
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