Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck has appointed Juan De Jongh and Frans Malherbe as co-captains for the 2016 Super Rugby season. De Jongh has 84 Super Rugby caps for the Stormers and is no stranger to the captaincy role, having led Western Province to the Currie Cup title in 2014, while powerful tighthead prop Malherbe has long been earmarked as a leader within the squad. The experienced De Jongh will lead the team out onto the pitch and have the final say in on-field decisions, but will share the captaincy duties with Malherbe both on and off the field.
Fleck says that the move to co-captaincy is an extension of the collective leadership that has driven the pre-season preparations: ‘We have a young squad and we want to strengthen the leadership within the group. I wanted a strong leader in the pack and in the backline, so with them sharing the workload it makes things easier. Juan has developed into a great leader who has proven himself at Currie Cup level, and Frans is a natural leader which he has shown since age-group level.’
The Stormers coach explained that both players bring something different to the leadership role, and will also be able to rely on the wider leadership group for support: ‘We have two strong, talented leaders who complement each other well, they are different characters, but both add massive value to the team environment and personify our diverse team culture. They have a strong wider leadership group around them, and I am confident that if either of them is not available for any reason we are well covered in that department.’
Photo credit: Prensa Jaguares/ Steve Haag