In many respects, Springbok prop Frans Malherbe has followed a traditional path in his rugby career. Captaining the first team of Paarl Boys’ High in 2009 before joining the Western Province (WP) Rugby Institute in 2010, Malherbe played for the WP U/19 team in 2010 and quickly progressed to the senior ranks at both WP and Stormers.
He became a regular feature in the WP front row in 2012 and toured with the Springboks at the end of that year.
Malherbe made his debut in the Springboks’ test match against Wales in November last year. Unfortunately, a recent concussion at a training camp has seen the 23 year old prop not being considered for the June test matches.
While he agrees that there is some truth to the saying that props mature only later in their rugby careers, he loves the challenge of going up against the old guard.
“If you have the right coach and mentor, then anything is possible. Every rugby player has to overcome challenges and hurdles, but it is how you take it in your stride that defines you,” he says.
Being a professional rugby player means there are plenty of commitments for training and travel that need to be met. However, he feels that if you plan accordingly, balancing everything is not too difficult.
He says that probably fewer than 5% of rugby players get an opportunity to sign a multi-million rand contract to play overseas, so parents and children need to be realistic.
“My family and friends are important to me and I try and make time wherever possible to be with them. As a rugby player, I am in the fortunate position of enjoying what I do, but I do get concerned with the idolising going on in professional sport. Children need to focus on enjoying what they do and working hard instead of just thinking about the money.” — Iwan Pienaar