Dan Du Plessis? Is he worth a Springbok call up

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May 11, 2023, 12:59

So Dan just made the elite URC squad. It is also the first that he managed to get through unscathed. 

I was very happy last season having Damian at 12 next to Libbok, but this season Dan has cemented his spot and kept Damian away from the 12 jumper. Instead, Damian has been pushed back to 15. 

Is Dan really that good that he can keep Willemse away from the 12 Jersey? 

May 11, 2023, 13:44

He is pretty good, but I doubt we'd see him in a Bok jumper any time soon.

May 11, 2023, 14:01

From the URC site:

The Quarter-Final stage of URC 2 saw some determined performances in tightly fought matches. In the thick of it for the DHL Stormers and Munster respectively, No 12s Dan du Plessis and Malakai Fekitoa were at the heart of their teams’ success – rated as two of the finest performers by Oval Insights’ xP player rating system.

The role of a centre often varies from team to team, regularly indicative of their ethos in both attack and defence. Where some prefer playmaking midfielders, others use their 12 and 13 to control the gainline on both sides of the ball. Last weekend, Dan du Plessis showed the full range of his abilities, making all of his ten tackles, assisting Hacjivah Dayimani with a long floated pass, and crossing the gainline with all of his carries.

The Stormers are a team who like to win with little possession – they’ve made fewer carries per 80 minutes than any other team (90.5). This is based on the logic that it is better to prioritise field position and take more risks in attack – they’ve also thrown the most offloads in the URC (11.2 per 80) – than to hold onto the ball and risk being turned over in more dangerous circumstances. This strategy relies on an explosive attack, powered last weekend by Du Plessis’ determined carrying in the midfield.

However, this must be backed up by a persistent defence, the area in which du Plessis was adjudged to have excelled most by the Statmaster at the weekend. When calculating the value – or Expected Points (xP) – of a particular event, Oval Insights’ player rating system accounts for the location on the pitch and time in the match among a host of other contextual factors. Six of the the Stormers’ 12’s tackles were during first phase, defending the Bulls’ midfield threat head on. However, the following defensive intervention is a great example of how some tackles have a greater impact on the game than others.

The bruising inside centre tracks back well to tackle the Bulls’ supporting carrier, just as it looked as if they were about to break the line deep in the Stormers’ half. In the process, the dominance of this collision rocked the ball carrier to the point of losing possession, thus stifling a promising Bulls’ attack. Du Plessis’ work rate in this instance was incredible: he made a tackle on the other side of the pitch just 21 seconds before romping over to make a potentially try-saving tackle.

Whilst players in this position have varied skillsets, inside centre is certainly a defensively demanding place to play. In the URC this season, players wearing 12 have made 8.2 tackles per 80 minutes – the highest average of any position in the backline. Du Plessis and Fekitoa made ten and 16 respectively, demonstrating the strength of their performances relative to other players in their position. Both players also won a turnover each. Given 12s have won an average of 0.4 per 80 – and considering the huge value of reclaiming possession – the Statmaster’s evaluation of their efforts seems on the money.

Fekitoa was effectively a fourth back-row against the Glasgow Warriors: only four Munster players made more tackles, three were loose forwards. Whilst he did score a try, his doggedness without the ball was the most impressive aspect of his performance, especially given the immense pressure the Warriors created deep in the red zone. Glasgow spent nearly eight minutes parked in the Munster 22 (7:47), resulting in a tireless defensive effort from Fekitoa and company. In fact, five of the centre’s tackles were made within ten metres of his try line.

However, as well as these more thankless tasks, Fekitoa found his moment to make one of his signature monster shots. Renowned as a powerful defender, he reads the play and accelerates into a comprehensive collision. At the weekend, he seemed to relish the attrition of a brutal URC playoff.

May 11, 2023, 14:03

Probably not the most gifted athlete, but would not let the Boks down. 

He has brains - but I doubt he is physically strong enough to last in test rugby. 
A bit like Goosen, who gets injured peeling oranges for match day.

May 11, 2023, 14:07

Height1.87 m (6 ft 1+1?2 in)
Weight97 kg (15 st 4 lb; 214 lb)

May 11, 2023, 15:20

I think his frame is deceiving and probably not your De Allende but same size as Owens. 

I do think out of all the 12s in the URC and especially in SA, he has been the best. 

Rohan Jansen Van Rensburg had a lot of great games, with his line breaking ability and tackle bust, but also conceded a red card and got banned for a few games. He was also injured and had to play off the bench a few times. 

I'm just trying to figure out he good he really is.

Willemse is a complete rugby player. But he plays sometimes to much of instinct and probably does some random stuff like when he was trying to be smart, but his team has no idea what he was trying. So end up with incomplete passes. 

But I think Dan is the right size for a 12. The boks have been really blessed with big 12s in recent years. 

May 11, 2023, 15:24

He is definitely Bok material has been very good this year

Can’t see him breaking into the Bok squad ahead of de Allende, Willemse and Esterhuizen

May 11, 2023, 15:37

It would be useful to know the players, channels, and phases of those offloads. I'll keep an eye on Dan. I don't know him very well. Lots of new players I haven't really seen much or anything of. We could do with a few new quality selections in the squad to freshen things up. 

May 11, 2023, 16:02

When I say physically strong enough, I meant can take the physicality, speed and intensity of test rugby- being robust enough

Take a player like Marcel Coetzee, he is still great at lower levels of the game- but no longer of international standard. 

When he plays test rugby his body just packs in. Same as Goosen. They could have a long spell of not getting injured, and then play one test - and get injured in the first 20 minutes.

May 11, 2023, 17:09

Dan is definitely Bok material….DDA is not a 12, don’t know what he is actually but is only there because of the Dumb R&N game plan….Dan is a real 12 like esterhuizen and has heaps of talent….big mistake not making him a Bok.

May 11, 2023, 18:00

We don't need much from 12 under Erasmus. Just a body to take the ball into the next phase, and someone who can stop a runner. We don't have a lot of defenders who can stop reliably on their own. That's what made Esterhuizen such a difference maker. A man who applied so much pressure that he forced the opposition to change the way they played. It angers me that a man who should never have received more than one cap has been a Bok staple for nearly a decade. Not one single good performance since his 2014 debut. Shocking. Cheap. I wouldn't begrudge giving Dan a look. He can't possibly be worse. It's literally impossible. 

May 12, 2023, 04:41

Is Danny Boy related to the Michael/ Willie/ Carel  Duppies ?

May 12, 2023, 05:04

Michael's son.

May 12, 2023, 08:49

DDA was good way back. He had a step and tried to play with a bit of brain.

...but the Boks killed any talent he had.

Now, he's just a braindead plonker that can barely pass a ball. Worst of all, he never gets set up to hit the line at pace either. You'd think that'd be the one thing we could do for the guy...but nah...flat ball and slowly tractor forward is his fate.

Henko is my guy but I'd still rather have Kwagga at 12.

May 12, 2023, 09:05

He had more of a hop than a step. He used to hold the ball in two hands, take a hanging hop and skip inside. Nobody ever fell for it. The best season he had was actually the 2017 season. It still wasn't great though. He was a bit of a mess, but Meyer carved out a role for him after Damian blew the abbreviated RC. Damian had hype, and nearly everyone fell for it. There was never anything there. I can't think of a more undeserving payer. 

May 12, 2023, 09:26

Nah, I remember him at the Stormers. He scored a few good tries that would fit with some of the tries that the Stormers are scoring lately.

It wasn't a multi-season thing but there was a bright patch and it's what got him selected for the Boks.

...and then it was downhill from there.

I do agree though, the most undeserving player I can think of. More of a liability than anything else and an extremely low scoring rate. But I guess 12s aren't supposed to score tries. Having a 12 that can cross the line is no different to having one that can't...because there are other, more important, things to think of.

So we are told hahaha

When one says "Best 12 in the game"...this is what I think of.


May 12, 2023, 09:42

Draad, I agree that it Dan has a complete set of skills which we don't often see. Nice to see he pretty much does everything and not purely a battering ram like how the boks have used their 12's over the years. 

I do like the way the stormers play at the moment and think that she be the boks blue print. 

That said, the stormers don't have a good track record abroad or on wet fields. 

So the only thing they lacked this year was being able to play in severe conditions and probably reliance on steppers rather that big ball carriers played against them. 

As with the stat with Fekitoa, even though they played on a 4G pitch, they still bashed it up more often. They fields are also narrower than what we have in SA. 

So they only thing the Stormers are lacking right now is a decent tight 5 and and big loose forward. Roos is great, but don't think he is a Wiese which you need up north. 

May 13, 2023, 07:28

So Dan will square up against Bundi today. 

Definitely a big contrast between two types of centres. So we'll see how the Dud Allende type player Vs a more all round skillful player stacks up. 

Bundi is the Irish first choice centre and was instrumental in helping Ireland beat new Zealand. 

He is not super tall but built like a brick shit house 

May 13, 2023, 09:23

I haven't seen another 12 like Damian. He is labelled as a possession centre, but he really doesn't fit any type. He looks big, but is underpowered. You'll never see Damian punch the line and not be driven backwards. 

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