Du Plessis making a name for himself

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He might be the son of a former Springbok great, but Stormers fly-half is making a name for himself in Super Rugby this season.

Du Plessis was given the playmaker's role for the Stormers – after Robert du Preez and Kurt Coleman were sidelined with injuries – and has impressed in the number 10 jersey against the Sunwolves, Lions and Reds.

His father, Carel, who coached the Springboks in 1997, was nicknamed the Prince of Wings during his playing days for Western Province and the Springboks, who he represented in 12 Tests between 1982 and 1989.

Jean-Luc's uncles, Michael and Willie, also played for WP and the Springboks at Test level and, like Carel, were also very popular figures at Newlands. 

Those are big boots to fill but since his first start for the Stormers – against the Sunwolves in Cape Town – the 21-year-old has grown in confidence.

He scored a memorable try in the left-hand corner in the Stormers' 46-19 win over the Sunwolves at Newlands, an achievement which drew instant comparison with his dad, who scored numerous tries from the left wing at the same venue.

"When I got home after the game we had a good laugh about it and my dad congratulated me," Du Plessis told Sport24.

"But it was actually my mom that said that my father’s last try for Province was in that corner and my first try was in that corner, so it was like a fantasy.

"My father is not one to really get swept up in the emotion. He congratulated me. He’ll tell me where I went wrong and then give me constructive criticism, which is exactly what I’m after. We have a good relationship."

Du Plessis is aware that his father and uncles' rugby feats have great significance to many supporters, but he doesn't feel there is added pressure on him.  

"It’s obviously something that runs deep in our family," he added.

"It’s something that my family and myself take a lot of pride from.

"It’s definitely an internal motivation for me. I feel it’s definitely a benefiting factor for me more than a weight on the shoulders.

"I feel there is some expectation but that is more created by the spectators.

"For me personally there is no pressure from an outside point of view. If anything I feel less pressure, because I know on Friday night over a steak my father is going to talk me through the game on Saturday.

"The only pressure I feel is internally that I put on myself. I don’t feel any extra pressure from previous bloodlines or uncles or fathers."