Mature De Jongh staying focused

PUBLISHED: March 20, 2015

DHL Stormers vice-captain Juan de Jongh says that leadership responsibilities have helped him mature as a rugby player – both on and off the field.

The past year has been an exciting chapter in De Jongh’s career.

He was given the captaincy ahead of DHL Western Province’s 2014 Absa Currie Cup, taking charge of a young squad. He excelled as a performer and a leader, making a valuable contribution to the Cape side’s charge to the domestic crown.

This saw him named vice-captain for the DHL Stormers’ 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby season.

“As a rugby player and a person, taking on a leadership position has helped me mature a lot,” De Jongh told Fans.MyPlayers.co.za. “I understand that this role comes with a lot of responsibility, and I enjoy the challenge.

“It’s been easier to adapt thanks to the support of the other leaders in the squad. It’s important that I have the support of the guys around.

“I enjoy being part of the leadership core and guiding this young Stormers squad… one that has surprised many people with the performances on the field. The captaincy has inspired me to give my best to the team, and to make the correct decisions when necessary.”

The DHL Stormers have impressed during the opening rounds of Vodacom Super Rugby, winning four of their five fixtures to lead the South African Conference and feature among the top three in the overall standings.

They enjoy a bye this week ahead of a tough overseas tour to New Zealand and Australia, where they will face the Highlanders (March 28), the Hurricanes (April 3), the Waratahs (April 11) and the Western Force (April 18).

De Jongh believes the team can continue their fine form if they remain focused ahead of their departure for Australasia on Saturday.

“The bye has come at a great time ahead of our tour, allowing the players to refresh and rest their bodies,” said De Jongh.

“For most of the younger guys, it will be their first time travelling to Australasia. It’s important to adapt to the time difference, which isn’t always easy. So it’s important we step up

“We are happy with the way we started the Super Rugby season, but we were disappointed with the performance during the loss against the Chiefs,” he added.

“After reviewing the footage, we realised as a team, we made too many errors and wrong decisions, which contributed to the defeat.

“If we can rectify this and build on the momentum we created at the start of the season, we will be able to do well on tour. It won’t be easy, but if we play to our potential, we will get the desired results. We want to do well for the DHL Newlands Faithful.”