‘No one is exempt from criticism’

Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis says he has learned to deal with criticism differently as he’s become more experienced, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

Du Plessis came under some pressure at the start of the international season, but responded to criticism with a powerful scrumming performance against New Zealand in the second Test of the Rugby Championship.

Although a knee injury ruled him out of the matches against Argentina, Du Plessis is set to anchor the Bok scrum from tighthead prop during the upcoming World Cup.

‘There’s always pressure on you as a player, you realise that people have a certain expectation of you and you want to meet that expectation,’ Du Plessis commented. ‘You want to make the supporters happy, but sometimes you just deal with the pressure better if you get good guidance and see things in the right context.

‘Everyone reacts to criticism in a similar way because you want to prove that criticism wrong, regardless of what field of work you’re in. What is better now is that I’ve begun to be able to discern what is fair criticism, and what is not. The older you get, the more you realise that regardless of what you do, there are some people who won’t be satisfied and will continue to criticise. No one is exempt, and you have to be deal with it, and work out if there is a need to rectify something.’

Du Plessis will be heading into his third World Cup, and said he was determined to contribute in any way possible to what he believed could be a successful campaign.

‘Every time I go out there, I want to perform at my best, as all rugby players do … you try not to listen when people say you’re too old, or you’re not good enough. That criticism can make you tougher as a person, but when the criticism starts to affect your loved ones, it does make it difficult to deal with. You realise what opinions you put value on, and you learn to deal with things differently. But I’m just happy to be part of a squad that I believe can go on to win the World Cup, and I just want to play my part.’

Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images

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Craig Lewis