JOHANNESBURG – Former Stormers and Northampton scrumhalf Nic Groom has joined the Lions and will be available to play for them from this weekend.
The two-time Super Rugby runners-up from 2016 and 2017 are short on experience in the No 9 position following the departure of Faf de Klerk to Sale last season.
Only Ross Cronje, who played for the Springboks in 2016 and 2017, has several seasons’ experience behind him, but he has struggled under the workload of late, and is also nursing a niggling rib injury. The other scrumhalves in the group are rookies Marco Janse van Vuren, Christiaan Meyer and Dillon Smit.
Groom, who played for South Africa “A” in 2016 before moving abroad, will be available for the Lions until October 31 next year, meaning he will feature for the team in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup.
“My time in England with the Saints has been hugely satisfying on many levels,” said the 28-year-old who played for Western Province on 69 occasions and the Stormers 57 times since 2011.
“I’ve learned so much and am a better player and person for it. The opportunity to move back to South Africa has come sooner than expected but I am excited about the challenge ahead. I’m joining a great team with high ambitions and am looking forward to getting started.”
Groom will boost the experience in the Lions squad and coach Swys de Bruin may consider picking him as early as this week when the Joburg team square off with the new recruit’s former team, the Stormers, at Ellis Park this weekend.
The Lions are coming off three defeats in their last four matches and are in dire need of a win to bolster confidence ahead of the team’s four-match overseas tour from mid-April.