CJ and Jean sign for Stormers
Western Province chief professional coach Rassie Erasmus has confirmed the return of Jean de Villiers to the Cape rugby fold for the Currie Cup, as well as CJ van der Linde’s availability for the Stormers in next year’s Super 15.
According to Stormers managing director Rob Wagner, both have signed on the dotted line, with De Villiers’s availability being immediate pending his commitments to the Springboks. Van der Linde, who will play for the Cheetahs in the coming domestic season, will be officially contracted to the Stormers from November 1 2010.
At the same time, Wagner announced that Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant has been released on a form of loan to play rugby in Japan until the end of the year.
“Peter is not part of the Springbok group and he felt he wanted a chance to recharge his batteries, taste a new environment and obviously earn some extra cash, and Rassie was amenable to his request,” said Wagner.
“Peter will however be back for the start of the build-up to the Super 15 so he is not lost to us at all. He is still very much part of our plans.”
According to Erasmus, Grant’s desire to go to Japan could have a positive spin-off for both the player and for the Stormers.
“They play a lot less in Japan than they do here, and the problem with Peter is that he is a very physical player who you cannot instruct to be less physical than he is. So we might find that his time in Japan will bring him back feeling really refreshed and rested,” said Erasmus.
“Also having him away forces us to look at our other flyhalf options. We are keen to see Lionel Cronje who we brought down from the Cheetahs in the off-season get an extended run. We feel he has settled enough in our systems now and I am looking forward to see how he embraces the challenge posed by the Currie Cup.
“There are also other young players inside the province we would like to have a look at. So this gives us an opportunity to build our depth for next year, where the Super 15 will mean we have an even longer Super competition than we had this season.”
Erasmus said that the addition of the experienced Van der Linde to the front-row mix had been welcomed by the young players already on the Stormers books.
Joe Pietersen is likely to move to France at the end of the season, but Wagner said he may go earlier depending on whether a release fee could be agreed upon. Pietersen’s departure will be off-set by the return to fitness of Conrad Jantjes for the Currie Cup season.
Erasmus confirmed that Sireli Naqelevuki has played his final game for the Stormers. He is already in negotiations with an overseas club.
“Sireli is highly regarded outside of South Africa, he won’t have a problem getting a contract,” said Erasmus.
Meanwhile two young WP players who experimented with new positions in the past few seasons will revert to being specialists during the Currie Cup. Conrad Hoffmann wants to concentrate on developing as a scrumhalf, while Nick Koster, after a flirtation with wing before a long injury enforced absence, is to go back to No8.