Toddler son of South African rugby legend Jannie du Plessis drowns in pool accident

South African rugby has been rocked by the news that former prop Jannie Du Plessis' son drowned in a swimming pool on Tuesday.

Jannie du Plessis during the South African national rugby team Captains Run and Media Conference at Olympic Stadium on October 29, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Tributes have been paid to the toddler after the tragedy, which occurred on the 70-time capped legend’s 39th birthday.

Du Plessis has two older daughters with wife Ronel – Rosalie and Hele. Lions chief Rudolf Straeuli confirmed the news and appealed for the family’s privacy.

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South Africa are preparing to face England on Saturday and Springboks’ number eight revealed the news had been received at the international camp.

"We haven't discussed it as a squad, yet, but I woke up to a message from my missus about what had happened back home," he said.

"They are in our thoughts and on our minds, and we send our condolences to Jannie and family.

"It's obviously a very difficult time and we will stand behind and support them in whatever way we can."

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