Stormers star joins European exodus
TRANSFER NEWS: The cash-strapped Stormers are still struggling to hold onto all their high-profile stars.
@rugby365com can reveal that talented young utility forward Cobus Wiese is in advanced negotiations with Premiership giants Saracens to sign a five-year deal with the European champions – which would see him qualify to play for England.
His imminent departure comes at a time when Stormers management is struggling with dwindling cash resources and ongoing boardroom battles.
The 22-years-old giant, who is 197 centimetres and over 100 kilogrammes, has been a regular in the Stormers and Western Province teams for the last two years.
The deal seems set to go ahead, despite the salary cap saga that has enveloped the London outfit in recent weeks.
His departure will be the latest in a mass exodus of top stars – which includes World Cup-winning Springboks Eben Etzebeth (to Toulon in France) and Damian de Allende (to Wild Knights in Japan), as well as Dan Kriel (Lions), Corné Fourie (Gloucester, England), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Sharks), Michael Kumbirai (Sharks), Chris Massyn (Cheetahs), Kobus van Dyk (Eagles, Japan), Craig Barry (Cheetahs) and EW Viljoen (Leicester Tigers, England).
The news of another high-profile departure comes against the background of the ongoing cash-crunch at Newlands.
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It is believed that basics such as strapping and water for players are running low, although officials are reluctant to talk about the franchise’s financial status.
It appears the negotiations surrounding the redevelopment (or sale) of the Newlands stadium and the planned move to the Cape Town stadium have hit some snags in recent weeks.
The deal with an investment bank, for the redevelopment of Newlands, may not be the proverbial ‘Goose that lays golden eggs’.
And negotiations with the city council for the move to the Greenpoint venue is also not progressing as smoothly as Western Province Rugby Football Union officials want it to be.
Meanwhile, the Stormers’ pre-season preparations are stuttering along – given that several players are on loan to teams abroad and none of the World Cup-winning Boks will be available till mid-December.
Captain Siyamthanda Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Herschel Jantjies will all take a well-deserved break.
Damian Willemse is still on loan to Saracens.