Stormers tighthead prop Frans Malherbe says it will be special to be able to run out at Newlands against the Vodacom Bulls for his 100th cap on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
Malherbe will make his 100th Vodacom Super Rugby appearance this weekend in front of the Stormers faithful, the first player to do so since captain Siya Kolisi in 2018. Making it even more special, is that he forms the front-row with Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff, players who started their own careers with Malherbe back in 2011.
The Springbok has always been a man of few words and in keeping with his character never wanted to be the focus of the headlines.
‘It is obviously special for me,’ Malherbe said. ‘I just told our media guy that nothing has been said about it, let’s keep it that way and I am going to stay out on the field and to send Kitsie [Steven Kitshoff] in for the media conference. It is special for me. But that is the last thing in the build-up to this game on the priority list.
‘It is the last year at Newlands as well, which is much bigger than any cap that I can get. I don’t think too many of the guys who have played 100 games, has played their 100th at Newlands. Obviously, you can’t control it. It is not in your hands. But that it works out like this is an absolute bonus.’
The Stormers are looking to build on last weekend’s 27-0 victory over the Hurricanes and make the most of their favourable draw at the start of the season.
‘While I am here and granted this opportunity to play rugby in Cape Town, I would like to make a difference and contribute,’ Malherbe said. ‘It is probably a bit of a cliche, but when I started some of the seniors always said you should leave the place better than when you got here. So I want to contribute to a successful Stormers campaign again.’
A few messages for @fransmalherbe from his teammates ahead of his 100th DHL Stormers game against the Vodacom Bulls at DHL Newlands on Saturday. #iamastormer #dhldelivers #mooifranna #100club pic.twitter.com/Sbru2rhcNG
— DHL STORMERS (@THESTORMERS) February 7, 2020
Against the Bulls, Malherbe will face a scrum boosted by their own Springboks in Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka, making for an intriguing battle at the set-piece.
‘It is not only a strong front row, it’s a strong pack,’ Malherbe said of the Bulls. ‘Daan Human is a very respected scrum coach, since his days at the Cheetahs. He has got some great results. There are some big players and very good scrummagers, who will be up for it on Saturday.’
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Photo: Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images