Jamie Roberts isn’t the only current rugby player to turn his hand and assist the UK’s National Health Service to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Glasgow Warriors player-coach Petrus du Plessis has revealed he has also linked up with the NHS after registering to return as a respiratory physiotherapist.
The 38-year-old South African prop recently signed a new two-year deal at Scotstoun that would see him combine playing with coaching the scrum. However, with the PRO14 season suspended, he has decided to put an old qualification to very good use and help in the fight against the virus.
Before enjoying a stellar professional career playing for Nottingham, Saracens and London Irish in England and then heading across the border to Scotland, du Plessis graduated in physiotherapy from the University of Salford in 2008 when he was playing for Sedgley Park.
Taking to Twitter to reveal his plans, he wrote: “I’ve registered to go back to the NHS as a respiratory physiotherapist. I strongly believe it’s important to have all hands on deck to overcome this virus!”
Having received much support for his selfless act, the three-time Premiership title winner later posted a follow-up tweet containing the link for others with health qualifications sign up and give assistance. “I urge other healthcare professionals to sign up so we can kick this global pandemic into touch.”
— Petrus du Plessis (@PetrusduPlessis) April 7, 2020
This willingness of du Plessis to help out mirrors ex-Wales midfielder Roberts, who flew out of Cape Town on March 26 after his stint with the Stormers was halted by the rugby shutdown.
Rather than spend his time hanging around at home, the 33-year-old has since taken up a temporary role with the Cardiff and Vale health board working as a clinical innovation fellow tasked with motivational and communications duties.
Roberts said: “I just thought how can I play my part in this challenge we are all facing? I’m sitting on a medical degree from Cardiff University. I graduated in 2013 and did a bit of research between then and now. I thought do you know what, I would love to help the cause here in Cardiff with the health board that helped me train as a doctor.”
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