The World XV are not just in Cape Town for fun and games, says South Africa-born Saracens tighthead prop Petrus du Plessis. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
Du Plessis hails from the Cape, but has spent more than a decade plying his front-row trade in England, the last seven years of which have been at Saracens.
The 34-year-old will form part of the World XV side that will be taking on the Springboks at Newlands this Saturday, and Du Plessis said there would be a real determination to give a good account of themselves.
‘We had a team meeting [on Monday], which took the best part of an hour, and the message is pretty clear. We’re obviously here to build friendships, to have a good time, and it is an opportunity for those who haven’t been to South Africa before to go and explore. That’s part of the experience, but it’s also about work-rate and discipline this week.
‘We have a game plan and it’s important for us to give the Springboks a competitive match. It’s all about making memories, but this game is significant for a lot of players, we want to go out and enjoy it, but we’re also aiming to be very well prepared and to do well against the Boks. It will also be good to test ourselves against some of the best players in the world.’
The affable front rower, who is Afrikaans and harboured hopes of one day playing for Western Province while playing his junior rugby in the Cape, said it would be a memorable occasion to finally run out at Newlands.
'It feels as if I’ve gone full circle coming back here and playing against a team that I grew up supporting. It’s going to be very special and a real privilege to play at Newlands.’
Interestingly, Du Plessis is a qualified physiotherapist and also featured in two movie cameo roles in London Fields and the Gatwick Gangsters.
‘I met a director just by chance one day, and they needed a big guy to play a role,’ he said with a laugh. ‘It was just two little parts, but it was a very enjoyable experience. It was great to see how professional actors do their job.’
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images