Warrick Gelant to add some ‘boogie’ to Stormers backline
CAPE TOWN – It will be a homecoming of sorts for Warrick Gelant after the 25-year-old signed a deal to join the Stormers and Western Province on Wednesday.
The Springbok fullback, who was part of the Rugby World Cup-winning squad in Japan last November, hails from Knysna in the Western Cape, but was snapped up by the Bulls and joined the Pretoria side straight after school, having matriculated from Hoërskool Outeniqua in George.
But with his contract having come to an end at Loftus Versfeld, Gelant was available on the market, and despite a number of offers coming his way, he has decided to make the move to Cape Town on his 25th birthday on Wednesday.
He will take over the No 15 jersey vacated by Dillyn Leyds, who will be joining French club La Rochelle shortly.
“I can’t wait to join up with the Stormers, and I’m very excited about what the future holds. I want to take my game to new heights, and I believe that working with the players and the coaches at the Stormers will help me to do that,” Gelant said in a statement.
Nicknamed ‘Boogie’ because of his ability to dance through opposition defences, the former SA Schools and Under-20 player will add a new dimension to the Stormers set-up as a strike-runner from the back.
Stormers coach John Dobson said that Gelant’s arrival at Newlands will also assist Damian Willemse to settle down at flyhalf.
“Warrick has established himself as one of the most dynamic backline players in South Africa, so we could not be more thrilled to have him on our books going forward,” Dobson said.
“With Dillyn Leyds leaving, we couldn’t have asked for anyone better to step into the 15 jersey. I am sure his presence will also have a hugely positive influence on the players around him.
“We are also looking forward to giving Damian Willemse the opportunity to settle at flyhalf going forward, with Warrick providing his trademark strike threat from the back.
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/WarrickGelant?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WarrickGelanthas signed with Western Province Rugby, adding considerable experience and firepower to the DHL Stormers backline - https://t.co/UF5zS1YZ1G #iamastormer #dhldelivers✍️🔵⚪️
— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS)
“Warrick is a deadly finisher with a wonderful feel for the game and awareness of space, which is just what we need for the talent we already have in the backline to thrive.”
Gelant, who has nine Test caps, should wear the Stormers jersey for the first time when local rugby resumes following the coronavirus lockdown.
SA Rugby have been in negotiations with government about a return to play in the coming weeks, in the form of a six-team competition involving the Stormers, Sharks, Bulls, Lions, Cheetahs and Southern Kings.