Griquas agreement will further growth of the Stormers

rugby21 December 2023 07:30| © SuperSport
By:Gavin Rich
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Western Province Professional Rugby and Windhoek Draught Griquas have concluded a development agreement that should further grow the DHL Stormers in their quest to take up a place at the top table of world club and franchise rugby.

As well as helping Griquas in the Currie Cup, the agreement will be of benefit to the players from both unions and ultimately add to the playing resources of the Stormers in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship and Investec Champions Cup.

The agreement was hinted at a few weeks ago by Stormers coach John Dobson but was officially announced on Thursday. It is a strategic player development deal that will smooth the pathway for Griquas players to represent the Stormers while at the same time introducing a loan structure that will allow fringe Stormers players to get game time and gain experience playing for Griquas.

According to the press release issued by Western Province Professional Rugby, the agreement “improves the depth and competitiveness of the Kimberley teams squad and provides additional competitive playing time for those Stormers players on loan”.

The two franchises already have a history of working together. Current Stormers players such as Stefan Ungerer and Adre Smith developed through an informal relationship with Griquas, while lock Dylan Sjoblom, on loan to the Stormers from Griquas, made his Stormers debut off the bench in the recent Champions Cup game against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

Stormers prop Leon Lyons and scrumhalf Thomas Bursey have meanwhile both joined Griquas to continue their development.

Both teams have agreed to collaborate on staff development, providing opportunities for staff to learn from one another, and WP and Griquas players will be managed and developed in a co-ordinated way so that the transition of players with the right skill level to URC level is better achieved.

Ultimately this should further enhance the Stormers’ drive to have the “deep and well trained squad” that is critical to success in international competition.