Bulls snag another Lion
Bulls snag another LionSHARE
South African Under-20 star Paul Willemse has become the latest star player to leave the troubled Golden Lions for seemingly greener pastures.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed on Monday that the Baby Bok lock, Willemse, has agreed terms with them.
He will join the Bulls ahead of next year’s Super Rugby season.
The Junior World Championship-winning lock will remain with the Lions for the Currie Cup season and will only join up with the Bulls on November 1.
Willemse, one of the stand-out players in the SA U20 team that won the IRB Junior World Championship earlier this year, joins Grant Hattingh – another Lions second row forward, who was a star for the Bulls in their comprehensive 42-31 win over the table-topping Sharks at the weekend.
For the Lions – still reeling from the loss of their Super Rugby status and having lost the arbitration case against the Leopards and Pumas last week – this is another crippling blow at a union where a trickle of departing players have now become a flooding river.
Props Caylib Oosthuizen (to the Free State Cheetahs) and Jacobie Adriaanse (to the Welsh club Scarlets) have also confirmed their departure.
The 19-year-old Willemse is a fine physical specimen (127kg and 2.00m) that is seen by the Bulls as a Bakkies Botha type enforcer.
Commenting on the signing, Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said he was very impressed by what he saw of Willemse this far.
"He is clearly enjoying his rugby at the moment and one can see that in his efforts on the field," Ludeke said.
"He is a big, strong man and loves the physical aspects of being a lock, something that should fit in perfectly at the Bulls.
"We are delighted to get him on board and I believe he will do very well with us," the coach added.