Tuesday, December 06, 2005
WHATS UP DOC
BTW I did not know that Jannie & Bismarck are bruvvas- small world- need to get informed.
Farmboy turns rugby star
Monday December 05 2005
Featuring Cheetahs strongman Jannie du Plessis
Last year not many people would have known who Jannie du Plessis was, but after an outstanding 2005 season for the Cheetahs this powerful tighthead had the tongues wagging and a bright future is predicted for him. He has just qualified as a medical doctor and last week attended his graduation ceremony. Rugby News/Rugby Nuus magazines spoke to the young man and we republish the interview with kind permission. You can visit their websites at Rugby News and Rugby Nuus for more info. (The magazines are also available at major new agencies [CNA, PNA, etc.] and supermarkets.)
This year quite a few promising players had come through, but the young Free State tighthead Jannie du Plessis was definitely amongst the very top. As the former Springbok prop Willie Meyer remarked, of all the young props in the country he has stood above all.
It was almost inevitable that he would one day play at first class level. He was born 22 years ago in Bethlehem in the Eastern Free State and grew up on the family farm, Sterling, about 10km outside the town where they are still farming with cattle.
"From an early age I had been kicking a rugby ball around with my dad," Du Plessis recalled. "I played my first game of rugby as a six-year-old for the Truida Kestell Primary School against Ficksburg. From my very first game I have played tighthead. Now and then I packed at loosehead, but throughout my career I have been playing tighthead."
He inherited his rugby talent from his father who in his day played for SA Defence and Eastern Free State.
Jannie du Plessis' younger brother, Bismarck, packed at hooker for the SA Schools side in 2002 and is currently contracted to the Natal Sharks.
Life on the farm gave the Du Plessis boys a lot of natural strength.
"We worked hard on the farm from an early age," said Du Plessis. "We had to load and off-load bags, go and feed the cattle, etc., and that helped to give us a natural strength. But even so, I later did a lot of work in the gym as well."
When it was time for high school education, Jannie went to the famous Grey College in Bloemfontein where he and his current Cheetahs teammate, Wian du Preez, played together in the front row of the school's first XV and the Free State Craven Week side. They would also later play together for the Free State U21s.
After school Du Plessis went to Free State University to do a medical degree and this year graduated.
The road to the senior Free State side went through the Free State U19s and then the Free State U21s.
In 2002 Rayno Gerber was the tighthead for the Cheetahs U21s and Du Plessis had to sit on the bench. But the following year he became first choice and he was also chosen for the SA U21 side that took part in the world championship in England.
In 2003 he made his debut for the senior Cheetahs team. With CJ van der Linde involved in the Springbok training camp shortly before the World Cup, Du Plessis got his chance as substitute in a game against the Lions.
The shrewd Cheetahs coach, Rassie Erasmus, has had the biggest influence on his career, he said.
"Rassie had it all worked out," he said. "He would tell you that he wouldn't be satisfied with a prop who put in a few tackles in a game or just scrum or go on the drive here and there. He wanted one to work hard to be the complete prop. In a subtle, but nice way he put pressure on me and from there it has been all up to me to make the most of it."
Du Plessis believes that one can never be good enough.
"I would still like to work on my tackling, but I also want to scrum better, carry the ball better and develop in total.
"Guys like Rassie [Erasmus], Naka [Drotske], Ollie [le Roux] and Boela [du Plooy] have helped me a great deal over the past year or two. Prior to a game one may be on edge and they would then come and put your mind at ease that everything is going to go well.
"Before the games against the Blue Bulls I had been very aware that I would be scrumming against the formidable Kees Lensing, but then Naka would pack next to me in the scrum and assure me ‘you're going to be OK.' They have all meant a great deal to me."
Du Plessis has great respect for South African born Pieter de Villiers, currently playing tighthead for France, as well as Kees Meeuws.
"They possess great power, a great technique and carry the ball well," he explains. "I have scrummed against Os in my time and believe me, he is strong as an ox. My friend Wian is also a strong guy and then of course there had been Kees Lensing; he was very tough but never got the better of me."
Once finished with rugby, Du Plessis would like to go back to the farm.
"I'm a boerseun, one cannot get away from that," he says. "Bismarck and I are very busy with rugby but when we get a chance we go and stay on the farm. We already have our own cattle there and one day we will be farming again. But I would also have to use my medical background and I'm hoping to perhaps open a day clinic out there."
It has been very difficult to combine rugby and his medical studies, Du Plessis admits.
"I had a look at all my studies and exams and all the top rugby awaiting us, and it all looked so impossible. But I have to thank the Heavenly Father who made it possible for me and make it all come together perfectly."
WHAT THEY SAY
"I have heard of him and I must say he a wonderful talent. For his age his technique is very good. He has all the attributes to go all the way. I thought he stood up well against an experienced and strong guy like Kees Lensing in the final. The longer a prop plays, the better he gets, so you can just imagine how good he will be in a few years time."
- Former Springbok tighthead Keith Andrews.
"He is definitely on the way up. Of all the young props in the country, he has come through the best this season. He scrums well, he is mobile and has the right temperament for a prop. For his age he did very well against a side like the Blue Bulls. He has great future ahead of him."
- Former Springbok tighthead Willie Meyer.
"In his games this season he did very well in my opinion. Against a guy like Kees Lensing, who to me is definitely of international standard, he stood his ground and was part of the excellent foundation that enabled Free State to win the Currie Cup in the end. What is more, he's not only a scrummager, but also a good ball player, which is good for a tighthead. He is surely an investment for the future."
- Former Springbok flank André Venter.
Klonk bietjie sin in daai broer van jou se kop oor die krismis skaapboud--
Ek wonner hoe lank Bismarck se kontrak by die guppies is
Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]