Departing Cheetah still 'mentoring' youngsters

Wed, 03 May 2017 16:04

REACTION: Veteran Cheetahs lock Francois Uys may be heading abroad, but he will leave the Cheetahs with a group of well-equipped locks.

Uys, 31, confirmed that he has signed a two-year contract to play for French club Grenoble.

He will depart Bloemfontein after eight seasons with the Cheetahs - which has seen him play 70-odd Super Rugby matches and earn an equal number of Currie Cup caps.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith said it is "great" that they can still bank on the experience and the mentoring of the seasoned second row forward for the remainder of the season.

"They have all learnt a lot from him," Smith said, when asked about Uys' influence on younger locks like Reniel Hugo, Armandt Koster and Carl Wegner.

"He has had a big influence on how our line-out function.

"Francois [Uys, at 1.90 metres] is a short lock for the [Super Rugby] competition, yet, he has enormously good stats," Smith said of the lock - who has made nine appearances this season, four starts and five off the bench, for 456 minutes of game time.

Uys is joint fifth, with 34 line-outs won and three line-out steals, in the competition this year.

"All that experience has been shared [with the other locks]," the Cheetahs coach said.

It will not be Uys' first venture abroad.

He played for the Cheetahs' Japanese partner, Verblitz, and the Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars.

He said his departure to Europe was a "family decision", because the financial situation in Europe is pretty good compared to South Africa.

Uys' departure follows in the wake of confirmation this week that loose forward Johannes Prinsloo had signed with the Bulls.

@rugby365com

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