New arrival Jannie du Plessis goes straight into the Lions' pre-season training

A file photo of prop Jannie Du Plessis in the colours of Montpellie.
A file photo of prop Jannie Du Plessis in the colours of Montpellie.

Jannie du Plessis has had to hit the deck running at the Lions.

The Springbok tighthead prop‚ who has joined the Lions from Montpellier in France‚ will bring vast experience to the Ellis Park-based team.

Du Plessis‚ who played his last game for Montpellier in their shock 23-20 loss to Connacht nine days ago‚ went straight into pre-season training upon arrival in Johannesburg.

The Lions have been sweating it out in steamy Johannesburg and will continue their preparations for the Super Rugby season in Secunda in the coming days.

Du Plessis‚ who turned 37 last week‚ will cut a grizzled presence in the Lions set-up.

Between 2007 and 2015 he played 70 Tests for the Springboks‚ as well as 119 Super Rugby matches for the Sharks between 2008 and 2015.

He has spent the last four years at Montpellier in France.

His contract expired last year but he was kept on as a so-called Rugby World Cup medical joker by the club in July last year.

Montpellier‚ who usually contest for a play-off spot in the Top 14‚ have struggled this season and are currently in seventh spot on the points table.

They have a strong South African presence with Du Plessis’s brother Bismarck‚ Jacques du Plessis‚ Jan Serfontein‚ Lizo Gqoboka‚ Henry Immelman‚ Nico Janse van Rensburg‚ Frans Steyn‚ Paul Willemse‚ Johan Goosen and more recently‚ Handre Pollard‚ all contracted to the club.

Tighthead Du Plessis‚ who has been used sparingly in this campaign‚ will arrive at the Lions with a reputation as a strong and wily scrummager.

In Carlu Sadie‚ however‚ the Lions have a tighthead prop of immense potential and the tyro is expected to crack the nod‚ with Du Plessis‚ largely playing as back up.

Sadie‚ who was a loan player from the Stormers‚ represented the Lions with distinction in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

He has now joined the Lions on a permanent basis with Frans Malherbe and Wilco Louw the tightheads ahead of him in the queue in Cape Town.

The Lions have haemorrhaged props in recent seasons with Ruan Dreyer‚ Jacques van Rooyen‚ Julian Redelinghuys‚ Corne Fourie and Jacobie Adriaanse all leaving Johannesburg or going into retirement.

Apart from Du Plessis and Sadie the Lions also have Dylan Smith‚ Sti Sithole and Johannes Jonker who are likely to do Super Rugby duty.