URC: Dan du Plessis thriving on ‘consistent game time’ with the Stormers

·3-min read
Dan du Plessis Stormers v Benetton URC 2023 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Dan du Plessis Stormers v Benetton URC 2023 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

United Rugby Championship (URC) title holders the Stormers are on the cusp of another final and inside centre Dan du Plessis has been one of their star performers during the 2022/23 campaign.

The Stormers are set to face Connacht in the semi-final in Cape Town on Saturday after they beat their arch rivals, the Bulls, in an entertaining quarter-final at the same venue last weekend.

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That encounter was a repeat of last year’s final – a match that Du Plessis missed due to a serious concussion issue which kept him on the sidelines for several months.

Keen to face Connacht

He is relishing the opportunity to face Connacht this weekend and is keen for the men from the Cape to advance to another URC final.

“It is incredible how quickly this season has reached the play-offs again,” he told the Citizen. “We are out of the Champions Cup so this is the last competition (in Europe for us), with only the Currie Cup left after.

“It was tough last season to miss out on the play-offs and watch from the sidelines, so I am enjoying being a part of the play-offs this season and hopefully we can repeat what we did last season.”

The 28-year-old’s excellent form has seen him cement his spot in the Stormers‘ starting line-up as the first choice inside centre while Damian Willemse, who starred in the number 12 jersey during last year’s triumphant campaign, has been shifted to full-back.

“It has been nice for me to get consistent game time and I think that has had a big effect on my performance,” said Du Plessis. “If you aren’t getting rotated much or injured and being out there on the field it helps a lot in getting into a rhythm and putting in some decent performances.

“The amount of spectators that came out to the game was special for the guys. The crowd had a big effect on the team’s performance (last weekend against the Bulls) and just them getting behind us was awesome and hopefully we can get something close to that again this weekend.”

His superb form has led to speculation that he is close to a call up to the Springbok squad but, although he admitted that he would love to represent South Africa at Test level, Du Plessis’ primary focus is to do well for the Stormers.

Always wanted to play for the Springboks

“Since I started playing rugby that has always been the goal, to put on the green and gold jersey,” he added. “I think for most of the players that are playing that is their goal.

“But I can only do what I do every weekend and prove my worth. I don’t pick the squad. So my focus is on putting in (good) performances and contributing to my team and what comes after that is not up to me.”

READ MORE: URC: Hacjivah Dayimani and Stormers ‘expect a totally different battle’ from Connacht

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