Cheetahs lock packs for Paris
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Cheetahs lock Carl Wegner will play in the French Top 14 for Stade Francais for the next two years, after which he intends on returning to Bloemfontein.
The former Baby Bok, who partnered Eben Etzebeth in the World Junior Championship last year, has become the fourth Cheetahs lock to head to Europe this year, following the departure of Izak van der Merwe, George Earle and Griquas' Frikkie Spies.
On top of his role with the Baby Boks in 2011 Wegner has also impressed for Varsity Shield side CUT and broke into the Cheetahs' Currie Cup team this year.
Wegner confirmed to this website that he has agreed a two-year deal with the Paris club, where he will link up with fellow South Africans Michael van Vuuren, Gerhard Mostert and Anton van Zyl.
"I am going for two years, until June 2014.
"They got in touch with me about two or three weeks ago, I think they watched these last couple of Currie Cup games I played," he revealed.
However, the 2.01 metre, 117kg giant is adamant that he will use the stint in France to gain valuable experience early in his career before returning to South Africa a better player.
"I want to go overseas, but only when I am young, so that I can go and get some experience and see how other teams work but I am always available to come back.
"I want to play for the Springboks one day, that is a goal of mine, but I will see how it works out," he said.
Wegner said that it was particularly difficult to turn down an offer from the Cheetahs, who he has wanted to play for since he was young, but added that he intends linking up with the Bloemfontein side again once he returns from Stade Francais.
"The Cheetahs offered me a two-year deal but I said I first want to go to Stade Francais. I really want to play for the Cheetahs, that has been my goal since I was a little boy," he said.
By Michael de Vries