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Carel Johan du Plessis (born 24 June 1960)[1] is a former South African rugby union coach and player.

Carel du Plessis
Birth nameCarel Johan du Plessis
Date of birth (1960-06-24) 24 June 1960 (age 59)
Place of birthSomerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight85 kg (187 lb)
SchoolPaarl Boys High
UniversityStellenbosch University
ChildrenJean-Luc du Plessis
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Centre
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1980–1986, 1988–1989
Western Province
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1982–1989 South Africa South Africa 12 (16) [4t]
Teams coached
Years Team
1997 South Africa South Africa

Playing careerEdit

Du Plessis played for Western Province and the Springboks, his skills earning him the nickname the Prince of Wings.[2] Capped 12 times, he scored 4 tries for the Springboks, but his international career was curtailed by the sports boycott against apartheid South Africa.[3]

Test historyEdit

No. Opposition Result (SA 1st) Position Tries Date Venue
1. South American Jaguars 50–18 Wing 1 27 March 1982 Loftus Versveld, Pretoria
2. South American Jaguars 12–21 Wing 3 April 1982 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
3. England 33–15 Wing 1 2 June 1984 Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth
4. England 35–9 Wing 9 June 1984 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
5. South American Jaguars 32–15 Wing 20 October 1984 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
6. South American Jaguars 21–13 Wing 1 27 October 1984 Newlands, Cape Town
7. New Zealand Cavaliers 21–15 Wing 1 10 May 1986 Newlands, Cape Town
8. New Zealand Cavaliers 18–19 Wing 17 May 1986 Kings Park, Durban
9. New Zealand Cavaliers 33–18 Wing 24 May 1986 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
10. New Zealand Cavaliers 24–10 Wing 31 May 1986 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
11. World XV 20–19 Wing 26 Aug 1989 Newlands, Cape Town
12. World XV 22–16 Wing 2 Sep 1989 Ellis Park, Johannesburg

Coaching careerEdit

In late February 1997, du Plessis was appointed coach of the Springboks, succeeding Andre Markgraaff, despite a lack of coaching experience.[4][5] He led the team to defeat in both the British and Irish Lions' 1997 tour and the 1997 Tri-Nations, before being sacked and replaced by Nick Mallett, his last game as coach being a 61–22 win over Australia.[6] He was subsequently an assistant coach for Western Province and the Stormers, with Gert Smal.[2]


Du Plessis is the brother of Michael du Plessis and Willie du Plessis, both former Springboks, father of Jean-Luc du Plessis, who plays for the Stormers, and uncle of Daniël du Plessis, a former South Africa U20 player.[2]

He underwent brain surgery in February 2019.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Carel du Plessis,
  2. ^ a b c d "Springbok legend Du Plessis undergoes brain operation",, 6 February 2019.
  3. ^ Danny Coyle, "Selecting the Greatest All-Time South Africa XV: 14: Carol du Plessis", Bleacher Report, 29 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Du Plessis in the deep end as Lions make an early start", Mail & Guardian, 28 February 1997.
  5. ^ Chris Hewett, "Rugby Union: Du Plessis made bold by his belief", The Independent, 7 June 1997.
  6. ^ Ashfak Mohamed, "Carel: Don’t expect fireworks on Nov tour", IOL, 30 October 2016.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
 Andre Markgraaff
South Africa National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by
 Nick Mallett