Frans Malherbe

Frans Malherbe, a behemoth tight-head from the old school. Learn about his life and career with Rugby365, your resident rugby gurus. Click here to read more.

Frans Malherbe Biography

Frans Malherbe was born in Bredasdorp on 14 March 1991 and educated at Paarl Boys’ High School in South Africa where he captained the first team.

The prop made both his senior Western Province and Stormers debuts in 2011.

In 2012, he started in the Currie Cup final, aged 21, as Western Province beat the Sharks 25-18 in Durban to take the trophy for the first time in 11 years.

Frans Malherbe featured in every Stormers match during the 2012 Super Rugby season and only missed one match in Western Province's successful 2012 Currie Cup campaign. 

2013 saw his reputation grow as he retained his position as the Stormers first-choice tighthead ahead of other more experienced campaigners. 

Frans Malherbe made 11 appearances during the 2013 Super Rugby season. An injury ended his campaign and forced him to miss the majority of the 2013 Currie Cup season. He made his comeback towards the backend of the campaign, making four appearances from the bench and helping Province reach their second successive Currie Cup final.

He made his Test debut against Wales in Cardiff in November 2013. South Africa won the game 24-15, with Malherbe lasting 55 minutes.

Unfortunately Frans Malherbe struggled with injuries throughout his early career. In 2014, he broke his leg but returned to play six games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He added three Tests against Ireland in 2016 before a neck injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. The front row forward also missed the 2017 Rugby Championship with a neck injury.

Frans Malherbe, the ballast of the Stormers scrum‚ brings wily experience and calmness to a position in which teams seek stability. He has been central to the scrum culture at the Stormers and the Springboks and is a player who goes about his business with little fuss.

Often having to take flack on social media due to his build, the Springbok prop time and again proves that no one lands a blow to him at scrum time. 

Malherbe was a regular for South Africa from June 2018 right through to 2019 when the Springbok coach ignored all the criticism of Malherbe and backed the 125kg prop as the first-choice No.3 in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Up until then, he had played 21 internationals with 19 starts. In Japan he played six times, coming off the bench once – against Canada in the pool game in Kobe. Frans Malherbe was vital in the maul and the Springbok scrum was terrific. He never missed a tackle and was very accurate at the breakdown. 

He was one of the heroes for South Africa when they hammered England on an unforgettable night in Yokohama.

Frans Malherbe demonstrated that professional players don’t have to fit a specific mould to master their craft, which is why he was in the Springbok set-up that won the series against the British and Irish Lions in 2021. 

The strongman has been compared to another cult figure from the Dragon Ball Z universe, calling him the Majin Buu of tighthead props, consuming loose-head props in his wake.

Next up, Frans Malherbe will be representing the Stormers during the newly-formed United Rugby Championship that runs from 24 September 2021 to 25 June 2022.