DHL Stormers co-captains embrace partnership

PUBLISHED: February 17, 2016

DHL Stormers co-captains Juan de Jongh and Frans Malherbe are looking forward to working together as a leadership team in Vodacom Super Rugby this season.

DHL Stormers co-captains Juan de Jongh and Frans Malherbe are looking forward to working together as a leadership team in Vodacom Super Rugby this season.

Experienced centre De Jongh and powerful prop Malherbe were unveiled as the DHL Stormers co-captains for 2016 by Head Coach Robbie Fleck on Tuesday, in an attempt to share the workload and broaden the leadership base within the squad.

De Jongh knows exactly how pressurised the position can be, having led both the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province in the past, so he is hoping that sharing the workload on and off the field with Malherbe will enable him to focus on his own game and performing for the team.

“I have been a captain throughout the Currie Cup and in Super Rugby last year as well and there is a lot of pressure and a lot of things you need to adjust to, so having Frans there to take that off my shoulders is something positive for me.

“If you have all of those responsibilities of being a captain on you it does take away from your rugby and even your ability to play at a different level.

“So hopefully this will help me as well to focus on other things so I can improve my game,” he said.

He added that he is looking forward to working with Malherbe, who has been identified as a promising leader from a young age.

“I am looking forward to the season and having Frans there, we come from the same area, we are both Afrikaans so we understand each other, although I don’t know how Fleckie is going to understand,” he quipped.

Malherbe said that he is determined to make the most of the opportunity and is excited about linking up with De Jongh as they complement each other well as leaders.

“It is a massive honour and a privilege for me to be a part of this leadership.

The new co-captaincy which I am a part of excites me a lot. I have played with Juan since I joined the senior team, I really enjoy working with him and I had the privilege of working with him in the leadership for the quarterfinal against the Brumbies last year.

“I am looking forward to the season, I am very excited about the co-captaincy because the workload is split and I think we complement each other on the field and in personality,” he said.

Of course, both players will also be able to rely on the considerable experience of DHL Stormers legend Schalk Burger who is playing his last season at DHL Newlands before heading to England to play for Saracens.

“Schalk and I are very good friends off the field, which helps a lot. He has massive value to add, I will always go to him for advice as well and he has the whole season here with us so that is a massive positive,” said Malherbe.

Fleck added that the vastly experienced Burger will still play a huge role in his last season with the DHL Stormers.

“We want to free him [Burger] up, we want him to enjoy his rugby, it is his last six months with us and we want him playing his best without worrying about too much pressure. But he is certainly playing a massive role in the leadership and he will be backing these two guys up,” he said.