DHL Stormers legend: Corne Krige

PUBLISHED: February 19, 2024

Corné Krige was an inspirational DHL Stormers captain who always put his body on the line for the team.

One of the defining sights of DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province rugby during the decade punctuated by the turn of the century was Corné Krige – bloody, bruised and bandaged – relentlessly contesting the breakdown.

The former Springbok, DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province captain was tough as teak, routinely playing through pain to guide his team home.

An inspirational leader and crowd favourite, Krige stood out in a vibrant and young DHL Stormers team that included the mesmerising talents of Bob Skinstad, Percy Montgomery, Breyton Paulse, Robbie Fleck and Pieter Rossouw.

Nicknamed ‘Captain Courageous’ for his ability to play on, despite looking like he’d just walked off a battlefield, Krige was famous for crunching tackles and never-say-die attitude.

Early in his career, it was rumoured that the gladiatorial loose forward had honed his defensive skills by tackling buck, such was the ferocity with which he would drive back the opposition.

Krige made his DHL WP debut in 1996 and finished up as a leading member of the famous ‘Men in Black’. The Skinstad-led 1999 DHL Stormers looked set to clinch their first title when they won six of their first eight Super Rugby matches before losing the inspirational skipper to a season-ending knee injury.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and Krige took charge as the DHL Stormers became the first South African team to qualify for a home semifinal in the competition, falling short of the finale after losing against the Highlanders at Newlands.

A natural athlete who also excelled at athletics and swimming at the famed Paarl Boys’ High, Krige was also a man clearly destined to lead, as he captained the high school 1st XV, every single provincial representative side from U13 to senior level, and later the Springboks.

Krige led DHL WP to back-to-back Currie Cup titles in 2000 and 2001 before he moved on to a new challenge with the Northampton Saints in England from 2004.

Having retired from international rugby at just 28, Krige was determined to make his mark in England. When he arrived at Northampton, his former DHL Stormers coach Alan Solomons made him the captain.

Through hard work, typical Krige graft and a number of great performances he won the hearts of the fans and respect of his peers – to such an extent that when Solomons resigned, Krige stepped down as captain only for the players to vote him back in as vice-captain, before retiring from rugby completely at the age of 30.

He returned to Cape Town and set up an outdoor advertising business, and also became something of a media celebrity, mainly thanks to his participation in the reality TV show Survivor SA and the Absa Cape Epic.

Corne Krige’s DHL Stormers numbers

56 – The number of matches he played for the DHL
Stormers from 1999 to 2004

4 – The number of tries he scored for the DHL Stormers