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Stormers confirm Puma import

Sat, 02 Nov 2013 14:26
Manuel-carizza Nicolas-vergallo--kings-pas
Gerbrandt Grobler will miss a large chunk of 2014
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It is not exactly a state secret, but the Stormers confirmed on Saturday that Argentinean lock Manuel Carizza will move to Cape Town after his country's November tour.

The 37-Test star made his debut for the Pumas in 2004 and has become an ever-present in their second row, playing in 11 Rugby Championship matches in just two years.

Carizza was first discovered playing for the Jockey Club de Rosario, before moving his talents to Biarritz and Racing Metro in France's Top 14 competition.

His arrival in Cape Town will bolster the Stormers' locking resources, with the likes of Eben Etzebeth, De Kock Steenkamp and Ruan Botha the current specialist second row options.

"Manuel comes with a host of experience in one of the toughest leagues in the world - the Top 14," Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said.

"He's also an automatic pick for Argentina, who boast a powerful pack of forwards, and we're excited to get him into the mix here and part of our systems ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby competition.

"Gerbrandt Grobler will miss a large chunk of 2014 with his leg injury, whilst Manuel's arrival will make up for Andries Bekker's move to Japan.

"Also, a young guy like Ruan Botha had a strong Under-21 campaign this year and he could only benefit from playing and training alongside an international star like Manuel."

Saturday's report does not confirm or deny reports that the Stormers are also chasing Puma scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo.

Vergallo, 30, played for the Southern Kings in this year's Super Rugby competition, but was released from his contract following their relegation from the tournament.

Vergallo boasts 33 caps for Argentina, but didn't feature in this year's Rugby Championship.

He currently plays for French club, Lyon.

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