DHL Stormers legend: Francois Louw

PUBLISHED: March 1, 2024

Francois Louw was a homegrown talent who became a prized asset for the DHL Stormers.

A breakdown master and loose forward legend from Cape Town to Bath, Francois Louw won over 100 combined caps for DHL Western Province and the DHL Stormers between 2006 and 2011.

‘Flouw’, as he is affectionately known, was born in Cape Town to a rugby family; his grandfather, Jan Pickard, was a Springbok and a former president of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.

He attended Bishops but missed out on Craven Week selection, only making his senior debut for DHL WP U21 during his second year as a university student.

Gifted with skill, strength and smarts, Louw was swiftly brought into the DHL Stormers fold by then Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus in 2008.

Louw showed his mettle from the get-go to become a regular and key starter for the Cape side, proving impenetrable on defence and immovable when latched onto the ball at the breakdown.

Louw was integral to the DHL Stormers’ revival under Erasmus and helped power the team to the Super Rugby Final in 2010.

A Bok call-up followed soon after when he was chosen by Peter de Villiers to tackle Wales at the Millennium Stadium, a match that the Boks won 34-31.

He was also selected by each of the subsequent three Bok coaches while playing for English club Bath, where he won 141 caps.

Louw closed the curtains on his stellar career after winning the World Cup in 2019, accumulating 76 Test caps and scoring 10 tries along the way.

‘Flouw was a real warrior of the back row,’ said Erasmus after Louw’s retirement. ‘He was always ready to go where the fire was hottest and the kind of tough-minded character you’d always want beside you. He didn’t take a step backwards ever.’

Louw’s DHL Stormers numbers:

53 – The number of matches he played for the DHL Stormers from 2006 to 2011

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