Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

‘Deon has shown it’s never too late’ — Dan du Plessis on Bok aspirations

Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman believes that Du Plessis has the talent to play at the highest level.

Stormers centre Dan du Plessis still has big Springbok aspirations despite his recent struggles with injury that have seen him having to work his way back into the Cape side’s starting lineup and back to top form once again.

Last season the 29-year-old enjoyed a breakout campaign that saw him being mentioned as a possible Bok option in the midfield, however, with it being a World Cup year it was always going to be an uphill battle to break into the national setup.

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Thus Du Plessis was likely targeting another strong showing this season to prove his worth, only for him to suffer a major blow when he picked up a serious quad injury just before the start of the season that ruled him out for over three months.

Return from injury

He finally made his return from injury in the Stormers’ final game of 2023 against the Sharks in Cape Town, and he has since been building back to his best form.

Du Plessis however missed out on selection to the Boks’ first alignment camp of the season that took place last month, but he admits that he is undeterred and is inspired by his teammate Deon Fourie to never give up.

“I definitely still have the same ambitions. It has always been to play for the Springboks and as long as that stays my goal I will keep improving and working week in and week out to get to the point where I can hopefully finally be part of the Springbok setup,” said Du Plessis.

“I think guys like Deon have shown that it’s never too late to be called up into a Springbok squad. I think he was 35 when he got his first call-up and he ended up going to, and winning, the World Cup.

“So I don’t think I will ever give up on that (dream) and I will continue working every week towards that goal.”

Highest level

Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman believes that Du Plessis has the talent to play at the highest level and hopes that he will get his chance to put on the green and gold in the near future.

“I definitely believe Dan will get his opportunity at some stage. Just the amount of work that he does in a week is phenomenal. He drives the team, not just on the field, but off the field he (also) drives standards,” said Snyman.

“He is playing great rugby (at the moment). It is also our responsibility as coaches to make sure that we give the players the best opportunity to show off their skillset and decision making. To make sure that they perform and then when they get an opportunity to go all the way.

“So I am quite excited for Dan. I really hope he can get an opportunity. I think if he gets into that (Bok) jumper you will struggle to get him out of it.”