‘Frans Malherbe a phenomenal team man,’ says Jacques Nienaber ahead of prop’s 50th Test

Springbok prop Frans Malherbe will earn his 50th Test cap on Saturday

Springbok prop Frans Malherbe will earn his 50th Test cap on Saturday. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Aug 9, 2022


Johannesburg — Frans Malherbe doesn’t always receive the same plaudits his fellow Springbok teammates do, but on Saturday the burly prop will reach a milestone that is just reward for services rendered to South African rugby.

The 31-year-old will rightly earn his 50th Test cap against the All Blacks at Ellis Park (kick-off 5pm) on the weekend when he packs down alongside a new-look front row that includes hooker Bongi Mbonambi – in for last week’s Man of the Match Malcolm Marx – and Ox Nche, who replaces Trevor Nyakane at loosehead.

Malherbe is often overlooked by pundits and supporters, but the work that he does silently and without fuss, has been crucial to the Boks success. That belief was reiterated by head coach Jacques Nienaber on Tuesday at the team announcement, who waxed lyrical about the man who has been nicknamed “Bud Spencer“.

“I have had the privilege of working with Frans since 2010, so it is 12 years that I have coached Franne in the teams that he has played for,” Nienaber explained in Afrikaans.

“(Malherbe) is a phenomenal team man and his teammates know what he brings to the squad in terms of his scrummaging. But, if you also go look at his defence, he gets around the field and he makes his tackles.

“He makes few errors and he is worth so much to us. If we go and count all the points kicked over due to (Malherbe’s) scrum work – even though he himself has scored only one try; five points are behind his name – you will come out with a lot of points accounted for by him.

“If you also count all the penalties he has won at scrum-time in our half where we can then kick the ball up-field and get to walk 40-50m into the opponent’s half, he has carried our team on many occasions.

“It is a privilege to be a part of this milestone and I am looking forward to seeing him in action on Saturday.”

There is no doubt that Malherbe has been the cornerstone of the Bok scrum in recent years. This past weekend, in the 26-10 victory over New Zealand at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, he was at it again. The Boks won all 10 of their scrums in that clash and put immense pressure on the visitors at that set-piece, Malherbe playing an integral part in taking control of that area.

Malherbe made his debut for the Boks in November 2013 against Wales in Cardiff. He was a part of the unit that dominated the England pack in the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and was also a member of the squad that claimed a series victory over the British & Irish Lions two year later.


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