Hawies Fourie has confirmed the Cheetahs’ capture of Marcell Muller and George Cronje, adding that they have tabled offers to more France-based youngsters.
On Sunday, news broke that the Cheetahs have lured Muller and Cronje back to Bloemfontein from French clubs Montpellier and Clermont and on Monday the union officially confirmed the two moves.
The duo played for Grey College, Free State and SA Schools last year but headed to France following the completion of their matric exams.
‘We are delighted to have George and Marcell back with us at the Cheetahs. It’s important for me to recruit the best players in Bloemfontein straight from school,’ Fourie said.
‘It is not always easy and possible because all the other unions are also chasing them and giving them big offers. It hasn’t been easy over the past couple of seasons, but we are delighted that they have committed to us. They both have a bright future and we look forward to coaching them and having them in our squad.’
Meanwhile, the head coach also revealed that the Cheetahs are targeting several more boys who left for France post-matric late last year.
Highly rated prop Jan-Hendrik Wessels, who featured alongside Muller and Cronje for Grey, FS and SA Schools before signing for Clermont, is back in the country and is a sought-after recruit by the Cheetahs and several other big unions, including the Vodacom Bulls.
‘I have also made an offer to Jan-Hendrik Wessels but he might go to the Bulls or somewhere else. He hasn’t committed yet, but I think that he will be lost to us,’ Fourie told Radio OFM.
‘There are a few of the current Grey boys that we have tried to recruit. There are offers out to some of them and we have to maybe recruit one or two more in the current team.
‘That is the way that I want to move forward, to show them that we are really interested in them and we would like them to stay at the Cheetahs and not to go away to the other unions.
‘I want the youngsters that are able to play for the Cheetahs when they are 20-21 years old. It is not always possible in all of the positions, especially in the front row or the tight five it might be difficult.
‘We are looking to do that again and breed our own players who can come through our ranks. We are hoping that this is only the start and that all talented boys in Bloem will follow.’
Photo: Morgan Piek