The Kearsney Old Boys’ (Class of 2013) Du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Dan, could soon be resuming their Springbok Test match careers after they got the nod in the 46-player Bok squad for the upcoming series of matches that includes the British & Irish Lions tour.
Swapping the Durban-based Sharks by joining their older brother Rob at the Sale Sharks in Manchester has been a revelation over the past 2 years in that the twins’ marked physicality appears to have been added to with a newfound nuance in passing skills and a more calculated temperament.
A huge physical presence, high workrates, big hits and imposing metre-adding carries are being more intelligently applied in their Sale Sharks incarnation and the twins’ (born 5 August 1995) Bok representation 3 years ago, followed by a fallow 2019 in terms of their Rugby World Cup Japan absence, might well get a boost this time round, perhaps even in the famed Springbok Bomb Squad off the replacements’ bench.
Dan has been an explosive, game-breaking factor pretty much exclusively at number 8 alongside his Sale Sharks number 9 (& Springbok World Cup-winning incumbent) scrumhalf Faf de Klerk. There is massive competition for places in this 2021 Boks group but it would be nice to see this 8/9 pair together in action for the Green & Gold at some point.
The more Test-experienced Jean-Luc (13 Bok Tests, 2 Bok Test tries), who followed Dan (4 Bok Tests) up north, has been primarily used by his Manchester club in the second row as well as at number 6 and his lock-flank-8thman versatility could make him a sought-after member to cover these key positions if the Boks’ #RWC2019 policy is continued this year with the 6-2 split instead of the conventional 5 forwards and 3 backs filling the replacements’ bench.
Apart from serious doubts about star Bok number 8 Duane Vermeulen’s fitness, of the 6 named Bok lock specialists, the rugby health of Lood de Jager and RG Snyman is a significant worry for the upcoming international matches.
So, choosing their moments and not flying in willy-nilly, this could be a year to cherish for Kearsney and its 2013 duo of Du Preez, whose time in the school water polo pool and the telepathy synonymous with twin-sets could make for some great interchanges.
# The Boks face Georgia on the Friday nights of July 2 and 9 before tackling the Lions on July 24 and 31, and 7 August. The South Africa A team will also come from the 46-man Bok squad and they take on the pride of Britain and Ireland on 14 July, a Wednesday.