Damian Willemse has explained his decision to turn down an offer from the Vodacom Bulls in favour of signing a contract extension with Western Province Rugby.
The Bulls have been interested in Willemse for some time, with head coach Jake White going so far as to name check him as he mused about the potential of a backline which will soon feature former Springbok utility back Johan Goosen.
However, SARugbymag.co.za learned on Friday that Willemse had agreed to remain with the Stormers and WP, with the union later announcing that he had signed a fresh three-year contract.
It will be a massive boost for the Stormers to keep the 22-year-old on their books, as he is regarded as of the most talented backs in South African rugby, capable of slotting in at flyhalf or fullback.
In an interview with Sunday newspaper Rapport, Willemse admitted it was difficult to turn the Bulls down – especially given his relationship with the Rupert family – but he saw Western Province as his home.
‘I have come through the system and I am very happy here,’ Willemse said. ‘I have walked a long road with the coaching team and the management at the union. This is my home and I am happy here.
‘I anticipate that together as a team and coaching team, we can reach new heights. There are still a few things that we will have to tweak and work hard on.
‘I spoke with both parties (WP and the Bulls). I have a good relationship with the coaches and there is a good understanding. I am very happy here.’
Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix