Former Stormer answers Lions' call
NEWS: Scrumhalf Nic Groom will be leaving English club Northampton Saints with immediate effect to return to his native South Africa.
The 28-year-old No.9 arrived at Franklin’s Gardens in 2016 and quickly established himself in Saints' starting line-up, making 51 appearances in the Black, Green and Gold jersey in total and scoring seven tries.
Groom will link up with the Lions in South Africa and is immediately available for selection in Super Rugby, with the Johannesburg-based franchise currently struggling with injuries.
Groom will be with the Lions from March 31, 2018 until October 31, 2019.
Lions' first-choice scrumhalf Ross Cronje is currently struggling with a rib injury and he is set to be out of action for a lengthy period. There has been a suggestion he might be sidelined for another six to eight weeks.
Groom previously played in Super Rugby for the Stormers notching up 57 caps for the Cape side. Groom also has 69 caps for Western Province.
Groom was a Currie Cup winner with Western Province in 2012 and 2014. and he also has one appearance for South Africa 'A' to his name.
"I have loved the opportunity to come over to the UK and play for such a great club in Northampton Saints," said Groom.
"But the time has come for me to return to South Africa. An opportunity has come up to return home, and I am grateful to the club for allowing me to head back early to try and make my mark.
"The Northampton Saints, the supporters and the local community will always have a special place in my heart. Playing at Franklin’s Gardens in front of these fans has been an honour, and I will cherish every moment of my time here.
"I want to thank my teammates, coaches and the friends that I have made since moving, and I wish them all the best for the future. I leave Northampton a better man with a heavy heart, but I have no doubt the Club will be flying in no time – come on you Saints!"
Saints interim head coach Alan Dickens added: “Groomy has had a big impact in his two years at Franklin’s Gardens. He has had a very positive influence, both on and off the pitch, and I am sure he will be missed by many Saints supporters.
“But he leaves with our very best wishes and I hope he can achieve everything he wants to back home in South Africa.”