Currie Cup

Juan embraces captaincy role

2014-08-06 11:31
Juan de Jongh (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - New Western Province captain Juan de Jongh says he'll embrace his new role as he wants to lead the team to Currie Cup glory.

He takes over the squad captaincy from Deon Fourie, who is now playing in France, and will lead his province in the absence of Springbok captain Jean de Villiers. Prop Pat Cilliers, meanwhile, will serve as De Jongh's vice-captain.

Although just 26 years old, De Jongh has plenty of experience. He boasts seven seasons of senior rugby, featuring in the squad since 2008.

De Jongh was part of the last Western Province team that lifted the domestic title in 2012, scoring a decisive try to help them beat the Sharks 25-18 in the final in Durban. He also featured off the bench for Western Province in last year's final, when they lost 33-19 to Sharks at Newlands.

However, De Jongh stressed that past achievements will count for nothing as they head into this year's Currie Cup campaign.

"It's a new tournament structure with eight teams competing for the title. Every weekend will be tough for all teams," De Jongh told the MyPlayers website. "We have done well in the Currie Cup in recent seasons, but we have to leave that in the past. We go into the new tournament on a fresh page, so we need to make sure we're performing every weekend."

De Jongh said he was surprised by head coach Allister Coetzee's decision to give him the captaincy, but emphasised that this will be an opportunity he will embrace.

"The coaches, management and players have been very supportive during this time," said De Jongh. "I've also learned from our previous captains like Schalk Burger, Jean de Villiers and Deon Fourie.

"I'll do my best to lead this team in the best possible way. This is an exciting new chapter for me."

De Jongh also confirmed that Western Province will look to play an expansive brand of rugby during the Currie Cup, especially with the attacking players available for selection.

"When it comes to the Currie Cup, we have the opportunity to play running rugby," said De Jongh. "With the likes of Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla in the backline, there are many players who provide that 'X Factor'."

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