Du Plessis in Kings’ sights

Watson mum on rumour ex-Bok sought for new post

Michael Du Plesis
Michael Du Plesis

SPRINGBOK legend Michael du Plessis is said to the be wise rugby brain the EP Kings are head-hunting to mastermind their return to Super Rugby next year. Rugby insiders said Du Plessis, rated as one of South Africa’s sharpest rugby minds, could be appointed to a new position at the Kings.

“Michael is the man the Kings want. He has a fantastic rugby brain and would be a magnificent gain for Eastern Province,” the insider said.

A tight-lipped EP Kings president Cheeky Watson would not comment on whether Du Plessis was the man Eastern Province wanted.

There has also been speculation that former SA Rugby boss and Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths, could fill a newly-created post of chairman at the Kings. It is known that Watson and Kings chief executive Charl Crous met Griffiths at a beachfront restaurant recently.

Michael and his brother Carel (known as the Prince of Wings) were educated at Gill College in Somerset East.

Old brother, Willie du Plessis, also played for the Springboks.

Du Plessis learnt his rugby in Somerset East. He went on to become one of the best players in the country where he thrilled fans with his exciting play.

It is known that Kings skipper Luke Watson is a great admirer of Du Plessis’ coaching ability.

Watson has said Du Plessis is the person (apart from his father) who had the greatest influence on his playing abilities early on.

According to newspaper reports, Luke’s parents asked Du Plessis to help develop a teenage Watson in Port Elizabeth.

A reporter claimed that “within two seconds” Du Plessis taught young Watson “more about running lines than other coaches could do in two years”.

Du Plessis, 56, played eight test matches for South Africa at a time when the Springboks were barred from the international arena.

He made his test debut against South America in Pretoria in 1984 and his last international was against a World XV in Johannesburg in 1989.

It has been known that the Kings are keen for a high profile figure to join the Kings as they prepare for their re-entry into Super Rugby next year.

Watson has already confirmed that new coach Brent Janse van Rensburg, is the man they want to fill the role of head coach in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby.

Before news of Du Plessis’ possible appointment surfaced, Watson said: “The new person will play a big role. He will be the wise head to guide Brent into the Super Rugby campaign. Brent is not a caretaker coach.”

The Kings, it is said, want to play an expansive game of running rugby and Du Plessis would certainly be someone capable of implementing such a plan. In addition, the Kings can also call on former All Black star Carlos Spencer, who is EP’s skills and backline coach.

After their opening friendly against the Bulls next Friday, the Kings have another warm-up against Western Province at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on July 25.

The Kings’ first match in the Currie Cup is against the Lions in Port Elizabeth on August 8.

– George Byron

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