Legendary Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis returned to training with his Lions teammates on Monday despite the untimely and tragic loss of his infant son less than a week ago.
Du Plessis’ one-year-old son – Jan-Nathaniel – had passed away in a drowning accident last Tuesday. The tragedy occurred on Du Plessis’ 39th birthday on 16 November.
But less than a week later, Du Plessis was attending Lions training, even though he is highly unlikely to be selected for their Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against Cardiff at Ellis Park on Sunday.
“He was indeed present. Our squad is a really tight-knit one and everyone’s really close to each other,” Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli said on Tuesday.
“It has been an emotional week for the Lions. Jannie came to training on [Monday] and as a squad we are very close to him and the family. I don’t think he will be involved in the team coming up this Sunday, but he might be at the game.”
Straeuli said the franchise is supporting the Du Plessis family as best it can during this period and will give the player as much space and time he needs to deal with his grief.
“We are giving Jannie and his family space deal with it. We’re giving then all our assistance and enough space to deal with this painful process. He won’t be involved in any match-related activities for the rest of the week.”
— Toks van der Linde (@toksvdl) November 17, 2021