Morné du Plessis is a legend in the annals of South African Rugby Union. Widely regarded as among his country's best ever loose forwards, he became one of South Africa's most successful captains in the history of the sport and in 1995 managed the Springbok side that historically won the Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg at the first attempt.
A provincial player and No 8 with the Cape powerhouse team Western Province, du Plessis was first picked as a Springbok in 1971. He then followed in the footsteps of his father when he was appointed Springbok captain in 1975. The urbane and charismatic South African went on to lead South Africa with great success - captaining them in 15 internationals to 12 wins - until he surprisingly retired from the game at the age of 31 in 1980. He had represented his country in 22 Test matches in total.
His impressive captaincy included 3-1 series triumphs against both Andy Leslie's All Blacks of 1976 and Bill Beaumont's British Lions of 1980, but after the Springboks beat France 2-0 in 1980, du Plessis announced his surprise retirement. After resisting several offers to return to Rugby Union as a coach during the intervening years, du Plessis eventually bowed to public pressure and accepted the role of Springbok manager on the eve of the 1995 World Cup.
Always noted for his meticulous preparation and subtle man-management skills, du Plessis struck up a brilliant partnership with South African coach Kitch Christie and the pair were an integral part of their country's unbeaten run through that year's World Cup. Du Plessis eventually retired as team manager in August 1996.
Recently elected to the International Rugby Hall of Fame, Morné du Plessis is the owner and director of Sports Plan, a company engaged in the development of sports and service facilities. Among its achievements, is the establishment and management of the Sports Services Institute of South Africa in Cape Town. He is Chairman of the Management Committee of the Chris Burger/Petro Jackson Players’ Fund, a fund established 20 years ago to provide financial assistance to rugby players who have sustained serious rugby injuries, and also serves on the Board of Trustees of the John Passmore Trust which is involved in the promotion of sport in the townships of Cape Town.
As well as being a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, he is Chairman of Laureus South Africa, which operates projects for underprivileged young people throughout the country.