Stormers coach John Dobson says he is delighted to retain most of his squad while confirming that Cobus Wiese and Jean-Luc du Plessis will be heading overseas.
The Stormers have managed to retain the majority of their 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby squad following a turbulent 21-day transfer window that came as a result of SA Rugby’s plan to deal with the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
World Rugby Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit was the subject of a saga after originally cancelling his contract, but on Thursday it was confirmed that he had signed a fresh extension to stay in the Western Cape until the British & Irish Lions series next year.
Meanwhile, the Stormers pulled off a coup by luring Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant back to the Cape from the Vodacom Bulls. Gelant’s arrival will offset the loss of Dillyn Leyds, who signed for La Rochelle earlier in the year.
Leyds will be joined by Harlequins-bound Wilco Louw as well as Du Plessis and Wiese in leaving Newlands to head overseas.
Dobson said that while it was disappointing to lose players of Du Plessis and Wiese’s quality, both players had understandably been looking to further their careers abroad.
‘Jean-Luc and his family have been part of the rich heritage of Western Province Rugby, but we can’t fault him for wanting to earn what he would be earning in Japan. We understood that when he came off contract he would have gone anyway, so he leaves with our blessing and we are obviously very sad to see him go.
‘Cobus has been looking to go overseas for personal reasons and we were going to release him anyway. Both guys have been very good for Province and we understood their personal circumstances.’
Dobson paid credit to the players who decided to stay and continue with what the Stormers are buidling towards in the future.
‘It was obviously great to keep the rest of the squad, a lot of credit must go to those big-name players who were in demand and who were loyal from the start of the 21-day period.
‘We are obviously thrilled with the squad we have got.’
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