The “fear of missing out” is not a health risk for the burly tighthead prop, but it’s one of the reasons why he loves to pull on the Stormers jersey. It’s why he hasn’t signed a lucrative contract to play in France or the United Kingdom.
Malherbe’s “FOMO” is caused by injuries that sidelined him for most of 2013 and 2014. Last year, he only started playing about a month into the season after also coming back from a layoff.
“I grew up in this union and I have been supporting Western Province and the Stormers since I started watching rugby. There are not a lot of rugby players who get the chance to play for the team they supported as a kid,” the new Stormers co-captain said this week.
“I still want to try and make a difference here. With the injuries I had in 2013 and 2014, I have a bit of ‘FOMO’. I still want to make a difference and enjoy my rugby over here.
“I still want to play for the Boks as well, and that is the bottom line. I want to play for the Boks as many times as possible.”
After coming back from injury last year, Malherbe slipped past Jannie du Plessis in the queue for the Bok No 3 jersey, and the former now seems to have to a firm grip on it.
Malherbe was arguably the best tighthead prop at last year’s Rugby World Cup but, at only 24 years of age, he is still wet behind the ears when it comes to mastering the dark arts of the front row. So, it’s rather scary to think that he can actually get better with age.
However, there is no complacency as far as the former Paarl Boys’ High star is concerned, and he knows there are up-and-comers, like his Stormers colleague Vincent Koch, who are always looking to dethrone the king.
“Someone else told me how do you feel about being in that position (starting for the Boks), and I told the guy you are never certain of the Springbok position. You have to perform and be in good form to be selected,” Malherbe said.
“For me to have the honour to play for the Boks again in a starting role, I’ll have to perform, I’ll have to be in good form, and I have to be good in Super Rugby to be selected.”
His cause has been helped by the fact that WP, as a union, have adopted a scrum culture over the last few years. The Stormers were almost unstoppable at scrum time in Super Rugby last year, but didn’t quite know what to do with all the front-foot ball they achieved.
That culture is something former forwards coach Matt Proudfoot started, and it is something the new man in charge of the pack, Russell Winter, wants to take forward.
“(The scrum culture), it’s something you have to work on every day. Even if the guys were good last year – we had a good record in the scrums – we still have to get the work in and get it right,” Malherbe said.
“I hope we can get the same results as last year, but that obviously comes with a lot of hard work.
“I started with Matt, and I learned a lot while he was here. But I also enjoy working with Russell, a really nice guy who is open-minded. He is technically very good, and I’m looking forward to the future and I’m excited to work with him.”
Malherbe says his new leadership role won’t diminish the fire in his belly. And, while he hasn’t been in charge of a team at senior level before, he adds that he has plenty of experience talking to the referees on the field.
“This is my first time being a co-captain of a senior team (but) I have done it at junior level,” he said.
“What helps me, as a prop forward, we have to communicate with the ref beforehand, so I’m really comfortable in talking with them. So, if I didn’t have this leadership role, I would have communicated with the referee about the scrums anyway.
“We have a mindset that we want to work with the refs and do the right thing. We want to build a relationship with them to make it right.” - Cape Times
Original source: Malherbe has a touch of FOMO