Rugby

De Jongh available - until Blitzboks come calling

2016-02-17 12:30
Juan de Jongh (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Stormers are expecting to have co-captain Juan de Jongh available for the duration of the Super Rugby group stages this season. 

De Jongh has played in all four of the Blitzboks' Sevens World Series so far this season in an attempt to make the 12-man squad that will represent South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics Games. 

At the start of the Sevens season coach Neil Powell had said that players would have to feature in at least four tournaments to be considered for the Olympics - which De Jongh has now done. 

As a result, Stormers coach Robbie Fleck is expecting to have the 27-year-old available for all 17 rounds of Super Rugby. 

The Sevens at the Olympic Games runs from August 6-11, and with Super Rugby playoffs taking place on the weekend of July 22, De Jongh is unlikely to be available should the Stormers progress to the playoffs if he was named in the Olympic squad. 

That was also one of the reasons coach Fleck opted to appoint co-captains this season, with prop Frans Malherbe unveiled alongside De Jongh on Tuesday.

"There’s a good chance that Juan might be going to the Olympics, so with that thought in mind he may be missing playoffs. That just re-enforces the idea of empowering Frans," Fleck said on Tuesday.

De Jongh, meanwhile, is not looking too far ahead. 

"I’m only focused on the Stormers now. Whenever that time comes, and if I have to go they will let me know, but for now I’m only focused on the blue and white hoops," he said, adding that he had gained some valuable experience during the Sevens season.

"It’s a massive transition to make. Going from 15s to 7s is more difficult than going from 7s to 15," he said.

"I’ve learnt a lot from coach Neil (Powell) … there are a lot of smaller things that you need to learn. Hopefully I can take that experience and bring it into my game right now."

The Stormers open their Super Rugby campaign when they take on the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday, February 27.

Read more on:    stormers  |  super rugby  |  juan de jongh  |  cape town  |  rugby
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