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Jannie du Plessis getting all the space he needs by Lions teammates after family tragedy

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Jannie du Plessis of the Lions during a Lions Training Session at the Johannesburg Stadium, Johannesburg in September 2020. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Jannie du Plessis has been at training with the Lions this week, but will in all probability not be selected for their URC match against Cardiff Rugby after the tragic death of his young son.

JOHANNESBURG – Former Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis has been at training with the Emirates Lions this week, but will in all probability not be selected this week for the Joburg-based team’s United Rugby Championship (URC) match against Cardiff Rugby, according to the union.

Du Plessis’ one-year-old son tragically passed away in a drowning accident last week Monday on the 39-year-old’s birthday.

“It has been an emotional week for the Lions,” said CEO of the Lions Rugby Company, Rudolf Straeuli, in a media briefing on Tuesday.

“Jannie came to training on (Monday) and as a squad we are very close to Jannie and the family. We are giving Jannie and the family enough space and assistance to deal with it. I don’t think he will be involved in the team coming up this Sunday, but he might be at the game.”

Straeuli also explained that there is no set time-frame for Du Plessis to return to action and that that decision will ultimately be decided by the prop and Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen. His participation in this weekend’s match, if any, will also be further discussed between the two later this week.

The Lions restart their URC campaign on Sunday against the Welsh-outfit at Emirates Airline Park (kick-off 4pm) after a month-long hiatus due to the End of Year Tour in Europe. Thereafter, the Joburgers will play Munster a week later, before another break in December.

The tournament will then restart again on January 7, the Lions scheduled to play Leinster away on that Friday.

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