Jannie du Plessis
South Africa vs Fiji during 2007 Rugby World Cup
|Full name||Jan Nathaniël du Plessis|
|Date of birth||16 November 1982|
|Place of birth||Bethlehem, Free State, South Africa|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||121 kg (267 lb; 19 st 1 lb)|
|School||Grey College, Bloemfontein|
|University||University of the Free State|
|Notable relative(s)||Bismarck du Plessis (brother)
Tabbie du Plessis (brother)
|Occupation(s)||Doctor, professional rugby union player|
|Rugby union career|
Dr. Jan Nathaniel "Jannie" du Plessis (born 16 November 1982 in Bethlehem, Free State) is a South African rugby union player, who plays as a prop for South Africa and for Montpellier in the French Top 14. He played for the Free State Cheetahs in the Currie Cup and the Cheetahs in Super Rugby until 2007, when he joined Durban-based side the Sharks, where he played until 2015.
Personal and early life
Du Plessis showed promise as a rugby player early, being named as captain of the Eastern Free State age-group team at Craven Week in 1995. While he continued to advance in rugby, playing for Free State representative teams at under-18 and under-19 level, he never represented South Africa at junior level.
He studied medicine at the University of the Free State and became a qualified doctor, making him one of the few players in the professional era of rugby union to have a career outside of the sport while playing professionally.
He eventually made the senior Free State Cheetahs side in 2003, and continued playing for the Cheetahs through the 2007 Currie Cup. Du Plessis was also named to a South African squad that faced a World XV at Ellis Park in 2006.
Du Plessis made his Super 14 debut in 2006 for the Cheetahs. His 2007 Super 14 campaign was hampered by an ankle injury. After recovering, he was selected for the Springboks squad for the first time during the 2007 Tri Nations, making his debut in the starting XV on 7 July against Australia during the Boks' home leg. The match was significant for him in another way, as his younger brother Bismarck made his Boks debut as a substitute in the same match while he was still on the field. This made the Du Plessis brothers the 23rd set of brothers to earn Springboks caps.
Neither Jannie nor Bismarck was named to the Springboks' original squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but both eventually joined the squad. After Bismarck had already been called up to replace Pierre Spies, Jannie was called up to replace BJ Botha after Botha blew out a knee against the USA in the Boks' final pool match. He received the call notifying him of his selection from Springboks selection panel member Peter Jooste early in the morning of 1 October, shortly after finishing an all-night shift at a Bloemfontein hospital on the evening of 30 September, during which he performed a Caesarean section. When interviewed after his selection, he said that his first sleep since 29 September was "an hour or so on the plane from Bloemfontein to Cape Town", where he travelled to do his required paperwork before joining the Boks in France. On 7 October, he was starting for the Boks in their quarterfinal against Fiji, after CJ van der Linde was ruled out with a knee injury.
A week after the Boks' victory over England in the Rugby World Cup final, Du Plessis was in the squad for another final — the 2007 Currie Cup final, in which the Cheetahs defeated the Golden Lions 20–18. Because of his late call-up to the World Cup squad, he was the only member of the World Cup winners to play in enough Currie Cup matches to qualify for the final (at least four are required). Du Plessis joined three members of the 1995 Rugby World Cup winners as the only players to earn World Cup and Currie Cup winners' medals in the same year.
Du Plessis would receive an unexpected opportunity to use his medical skills in the wake of a 2009 tragedy. In the early morning hours of 29 March, Brumbies lock Shawn Mackay was hit by a car outside a Durban nightclub, suffering a paralysing injury. Du Plessis was at the scene because he was helping Brumbies players get back to their hotel after their match with the Sharks; he helped Mackay breathe and contacted emergency services, who stabilised him and rushed him to a hospital. However, despite all medical efforts, Mackay would die from complications of his injuries several days later.
Notes and references
- "Sharks swoop for Du Plessis Snr". Planet-Rugby.com. 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "SA Rugby Player Profile – Jannie du Plessis". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- de Koning, Jan (2007-10-01). "Planes, Trains and Bloem babies". Planet-Rugby.com. Archived from the original on 7 June 2008. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "Bonus for Du Plessis brothers". iAfrica.com. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "Du Plessis replaces injured Spies". BBC. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
- "UPDATE: South Africa team for RSA v FJI". Rugby World Cup. 2007-10-05. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-08.
- "Cheetahs edge Lions in Bloem thriller". Planet-Rugby.com. 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2007-10-27.
- "Jannie could set new milestone". Planet-Rugby.com. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2007-10-27.
- Lewis, Craig, The Star (Johannesburg) (2009-03-31). "Medics who helped Mackay praised". Independent Online. Retrieved 2009-05-14.