De Jongh embracing leadership role
Queenstown - Stormers centre Juan de Jongh says playing a leadership role in the team has helped him mature as a rugby player, 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 Western Province’s 2014 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 Stormers’ 2015 Super Rugby season.
And with usual skipper Duane Vermeulen set to be rested for the team’s next fixture against the Highlanders in Dunedin this Saturday, De Jongh will captain his first Super Rugby game, which he’s excited about.
“As a rugby player and a person, taking on a leadership position has helped me mature a lot,” De Jongh told 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 Stormers have impressed during the opening rounds of Super Rugby, winning four of their five fixtures to lead the South African conference and feature among the top three in the overall standings.
On tour, the Stormers will also face the Hurricanes (April 3), Waratahs (April 11) and Western Force (April 18).
De Jongh believes the team can continue their fine form if they remain focused.
”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 Newlands faithful.” For more exclusive player content, check out MyPlayers.co.za