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Morné du Plessis (1949 - )

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Morné du Plessis (1949 - ) Awarded for:
Excellent achievement in rugby, putting South Africa on the world stage through being inducted into the rugby hall of fame and promoting the use of sport for social change throughout the world.

Profile of Morné du Plessis

Morné du Plessis was born in Vereeniging on 21 October 1949 and grew up in Klerksdrop. In 1966, he matriculated at Grey College in Bloemfontein and completed his national service at the Naval Gymnasium in Saldanha Bay.

Du Plessis’s family was deeply steeped in sport and his involvement in rugby resulted from this fact. His father was a Springbok rugbycaptain in 1949 and his mother was the captain of the Springbok hockey team in 1953.

He attended the University of Stellenbosch between 1968 and 1972, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree, majoring in Industrial Psychology.

With the love of rugby running through his veins, he started playing at an early age, making his debut as Springbok eighthman in 1971 in a three-test series away to Australia. The trip proved successful to the South Africans with the team winning the three tests 18-6, 14-6 and 19-11. Du Plessis was elected captain in 1975. He retired from rugby in 1980.

In 1995, he officially re-entered the international rugby arena as manager of the South African national rugby team, which won the 1995 Rugby World Cup. He retired as Springbok manager in August 1996.

Du Plessis serves on the World Sports Academy – a group of 42 world-renowned sportsmen and women who act as the Electoral College for the Laureus World Sports Awards and promote the use of sport for social change throughout the world.

He is the founder of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Cape Town and the co-founder of Bioenergetics of Exercise Research Unit of the University of Cape Town and the Medical Research Council.

In all, he played in 22 tests for South Africa, 18 of which were victories. Under his captaincy, the Springboks won 13 times and lost only twice. He managed the 1995 Springbok World Cup victory in what is regarded as one of the greatest moments in South African sporting history. He has been recognised by the Laureus World Sports Awards, and has also been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.

Today, Du Plessis remains one of South African sport’s favourite sons, highly respected for his role as a sportsperson both on and off the field. He is married to Jenny and has three children, Jean Pierre, Luc and Nina.

Morné du Plessis dedicated his entire adult life to the advancement of rugby both on and off the field. He has elevated the name of the country through various international awards and through serving on some of the most influential international sporting boards. Through his participation in these bodies, he has also sought to strive for peace and understanding among ordinary people.