Setting the benchmark

Kearsney’s Du Preez twins, lock Daniel and flank Jean-Luc, are expected to make a huge impact in South African schools rugby in 2013.

They have both played in two U18 Craven Week tournaments for KwaZulu-Natal and were also selected for the 2012 SA Schools squad that went unbeaten in an U18 international series against France, Wales and England.

SA Schools coach Chris October was impressed with their powerful performances.

‘They are very big boys [Jean-Luc stands at 1.93m and weighs 105kg, while Daniel stands at 1.96m and weighs 101kg] and they gave the team a physical edge up front,’ he says. ‘The conditioning and size of South Africa’s schoolboys has improved a great deal in recent years, but the Du Preez brothers are setting the benchmark. It’s scary that they’re only 17 years old.’

The Du Preez twins were born and raised in Durban, where they started their schooling at Durban Preparatory High School before enrolling at Kearsney. They will play their third year of 1st XV rugby in 2013.

Provincially, both players represented KZN at U12 and U13 levels before being elevated straight into the U18 Craven Week squad in 2010.

‘The physicality and intensity at a more senior age-group level was definitely an eye-opener for us,’ says Jean-Luc. ‘But we place a big emphasis on our conditioning and training. We managed to adapt quickly and the experience we’ve gained over the past two years will help us become better players.’

An interesting switch in 2013 will see Daniel make a transition from the second row to eighthman.

‘They played Daniel in the loose trio in the SA Schools side, so I think that will be his future position,’ says Kearsney 1st XV coach Barend Steyn. ‘Daniel and Jean-Luc should complement each other well. They are big and can carry the ball strongly, but they also have the ability to compete for possession at the tackle points. Daniel will be an extra lineout option too.’

The Du Preez twins are both excited about the positional switch.

‘I’m looking forward to playing alongside Jean-Luc in the loose trio,’ says Daniel. ‘I know I’ll have to contribute more as a loose forward, but it’s a switch I’m excited to make.’

Daniel and Jean-Luc will join older brother, flyhalf Robert, at the Sharks Academy after school. The three played rugby together at school and junior provincial levels in 2010.

‘Rob is doing well at the Sharks Academy,’ says Jean-Luc. ‘We want to be based at a union where we will all be together, so it was an easy decision to make. We also enjoy the type of game the Sharks play. We’ll settle in nicely.’

By Gareth Duncan

– This article first appeared in the January-February issue of SA Rugby magazine