Sale Sharks flank Jean-Luc du Preez says he has learned to pick and choose his moments to dominate the collisions in a bid to earn a recall to the Springboks.
In Du Preez’s latest game for Sale he turned in a robust performance at No 8 in a 41-13 win over London Irish. He made 13 carries, 22 metres, beat three defenders, made 10 passes, two offloads and completed all eight his tackles.
It hasn’t been a perfect campaign for the 25-year-old, given that he was red-carded in December 2020 for striking an opponent with the shoulder and subsequently received a four-week suspension. Du Preez was also yellow-carded for a dangerous clean-out in February.
Speaking to RugbyPass.com, Du Preez, who last played for the Springboks in 2018, admitted his suspensions have taught him to control his urge to constantly smash into opponents.
‘After my red card in December, I was banned for four weeks and then got a yellow against Harlequins and I have looked at my game,’ Du Preez said.
‘I try to stay in the moment and not chase something. What I mean is if the ruck is set I don’t have to go into it or if a ball-carrier is going down I don’t have to smash him. I don’t have to chase things unnecessarily and there is a balance to be found because things happen so quickly on the field and you have a split second to make a decision.
‘I need to work on the “next job” mentality and if you make a mistake you then give 100% effort in the next thing and we have spoken as a group about not thinking about what has happened because you are not going to change the referee’s decision. It is in the past.’
Du Preez was joined by his twin brother Dan at Sale shortly after making the move to Manchester permanent in 2019. The two have combined effectively in the back row and have often topped the stats for most offloads.
‘We played water polo and that is where the offload aspect of our games comes into play,’ Du Preez said. ‘I would like to think there is some kind of twins telepathy and Dan and I seem to find each other on the field and I don’t like playing without him because it gives me more motivation.’
Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images