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Aviva Premiership Rugby club Northampton Saints have signed Stormers Super Rugby scrum-half Nic Groom to replace Kahn Fotual’i.
Fotual’i’s contract with Northampton comes to an end at the end of the current season and he has been linked to Bath.
Groom recently brought up his half-century of Super Rugby caps for the Stormers in their victory against the Reds at Newlands.
The 26-year-old double Currie Cup winner, who has also played in 59 Currie Cup matches for Western Province, has spent his entire professional career at Newlands having come through the Western Province Rugby Institute.
Groom said that while it will be tough to leave, he is looking forward to the challenge that awaits him in the East Midlands.
“Leaving Cape Town and the Stormers is going to be tough and a big change, but I’m looking forward to embracing new experiences both on and off the field. I have many happy memories playing in Cape Town; it’s where it all started for me.
“I’ve been here my whole career and I’m so thankful for everyone who has played a role in my journey so far. The coaches, players as well as the passionate fans will always have a special place in my heart.”
“I’m extremely excited to be joining up with Northampton next season,” Groom said.
“It’s a top club with a proud history and personally it’s a big honour to sign with them. I’m hoping to continue growing as a player and as a person and to contribute to what will hopefully be a very successful period at the club.”
Stormers Director of Rugby Gert Smal said that the scrumhalf still has a big role to play for the Stormers before he leaves.
“In consultation with Stormers coach Robbie Fleck and Western Province coach John Dobson, we decided to give Nic the opportunity to play for Northampton, but he still has a big role to play in the rest of our Vodacom Super Rugby campaign.
“We would like to wish Nic all the best for his future, he has been a stalwart at Newlands and we appreciate the contribution he has made here both on and off the field.
“We will keep a close eye on the scrumhalves we have in the system, and if necessary we will look at recruiting another scrumhalf,” he said.
Northampton Saints Director of rugby Jim Mallinder says that Groom has the abilities to succeed in the Aviva Premiership.
“Nic is a talented player and we believe he will be a great addition to our squad next season,” he said. “He has shown over the last few years that he has the ability to manage a game and to captain and lead a team.
“He has a lot of experience in Super Rugby, coming up against some of the world’s best players every week, and this will be invaluable as he competes for the scrum-half position with Lee Dickson and Tom Kessell.”
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