Van Jaarsveld takes over the reins from No 8 Boom Prinsloo who skippered the side in last year’s competition and was widely tipped to again captain the side in the absence of hooker Adriaan Strauss who will be away with Springbok duty for the majority of the competition.
The Cheetahs open their campaign against the Pumas, Van Jaarsveld’s former union, in Nelspruit on August 9.
Van Jaarsveld, born 27 years ago in Windhoek, Nambia, started his career as a flanker, was then converted to hooker, but returned in the backrow in the Cheetahs last two Super Rugby games against the Sharks and the Lions.
It was groin injuries to the likes of Heinrich Brussow, Lappies Labuschagne and Prinsloo which opened the door for Van Jaarsveld, who at 1.75m and 106kg is built in a similar mould as Brussow – ideal for an openside flanker.
Van Jaarsveld’s youth career was played out at the Bulls in 2005 and the Falcons in 2006-08 before racking up 73 matches for the Pumas from 2008 to 2012.
He played eight matches last year and five this year for his adopted province, the Cheetahs.
He also played for the Northern SA Barbarians in 2012.
New Cheetahs coach, former Free State lock Rory Duncan, the last captain to lead the Cheetahs to Currie Cup glory when he captained them to a 20-18 win in the final against the Lions in Bloemfontein in 2007, said Van Jaarsveld impressed him with his leadership qualities and was the ideal candidate.
It will be the first time since 2007 that Naka Drotske won’t coach the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup. He will be spending time abroad to get new and innovative coaching solutions instead.