Damian Willemse is in talks to seal a loan move to Premiership champions Saracens should he miss out on the Springboks’ World Cup squad. DYLAN JACK reports.
Willemse has not featured for the Springboks this year after suffering a knee injury in the latter stages of the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign.
The 21-year-old made a successful comeback for Western Province off the bench against Griquas in Kimberley last weekend. He will be starting in the final round of the Currie Cup on Saturday as he makes a late bid to make it into the Boks’ 31-man squad for the World Cup, which is announced on Monday.
However, Province coach John Dobson told SARugbymag.co.za that should Willemse not be named in the squad, he would spend the World Cup on a short-term loan with Saracens.
‘There is the possibility he might go on loan to Saracens during the World Cup, which I think is a brilliant opportunity,’ Dobson said.
‘With the kicking game in Europe and he will have the opportunity to work with [kicking coach] Dan Vickers and [director of rugby] Mark McCall.’
Given that Willemse has had a stop-start season and could do with game time towards the end of the year and work on his game management skills, the loan move would make sense for all parties.
Saracens would also be missing first-choice flyhalf and England captain Owen Farrell during the World Cup, which coincides with the start of the Premiership season.
‘He is a special kid off the field,’ Dobson added on Willemse. ‘This is not your run-of-the-mill maverick flyhalf. This is a deep thinker of the game and about life.
‘I spoke to him before and his approach was that it was up to him. If he sets Bloemfontein alight on Saturday afternoon he might still create a headache for the national selectors.’
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