Ex-WP centre joins Cheetahs
Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - The Cheetahs have made another signing, luring former Melbourne Rebels and Stormers midfielder JP du Plessis back to South Africa from Montpellier, the supersport.com website reports.
Du Plessis, one of the most promising midfielders to emerge from Paul Roos, had a stint in rugby league with the Sydney Roosters after school before returning to Rugby Union with the Melbourne Rebels.
He made his Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes in the same year but returned to South Africa in 2012 and signed with the Stormers.
Du Plessis joined Montpellier as the club signed a trio of midfielders, including the Bulls’ Wynand Olivier and the Cheetahs’ Robert Ebersohn and didn’t get too much game time at the French club before deciding to return to South Africa.
He will fill a void left by the departure of Johann Sadie to Japan and Piet Lindeque, whose contract has ended to go farming. The Cheetahs have made some interesting signings this season already, even though they have lost a number of players, with Blue Bulls utility back Clayton Blommetjies and SA under-20 winger Sergeal Peterson likely to join them for the new season.
In addition to this they have signed Bees Roux from the Lions to bolster their front row, while they also snapped up former Tuks, Blue Bulls and current Lions flyhalf Willie du Plessis, who will give them back-up to Elgar Watts for the upcoming season after getting little playing time in Johannesburg since his move last season to the Lions.
The signings are sure to offset the losses the Cheetahs have suffered as already they have lost the likes of Johan Goosen to Racing Metro in France and are set to lose Springboks Trevor Nyakane (Stormers/Bulls) and captain Adriaan Strauss (Bulls).
Other players who have confirmed their moves include fullback Hennie Daniller to Zebre in Italy, Riaan “True Blue” Smit to Oyonnax in France, Ligtoring Landman (Newport and Gwent Dragons), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors), Kevin Luiters (EP Kings) and Andries Ferreira (Zebre).
No 8 Philip van der Walt is heading to Biarritz and flank Lappies Labuschagne to the Bulls.