Bok wing or full-back Gio Aplon will leave the Stormers at the end of the season to join Top 14 side Grenoble, the clubs have confirmed.
Bok wing or full-back Gio Aplon will leave the Stormers at the end of the season to join Top 14 side Grenoble, the franchise confirmed on Monday.
With Aplon set to move on later this year, two younger players will be available to Western Province Rugby from the start of the Currie Cup season – full-back/fly-half Dillyn Leyds and South Africa Sevens speedster Seabelo Senatla.
Aplon has played over 160 matches for WP Rugby – at Super Rugby (81), Currie Cup (73) and Vodacom Cup (nine) level – but will now move on to the next chapter in his impressive career.
Comfortable at either wing or fullback, he made his Western Province debut in 2005 and his Stormers debut two years later – quickly becoming a darling in Cape Town with his quick feet on attack and bravery on defence.
“Gio has been a loyal servant of WP Rugby and a true son of DHL Newlands. He will be missed, but he goes with our blessing,” head coach Allister Coetzee told www.iamastormer.com.
“At almost 32 years of age, having just got married and starting a young family, we were never going to stand in Gio's way when he asked to be released – having first played in the Blue and White hoops (as a Vodacom Cup player) back in 2005.”
Meanwhile, Coetzee was delighted to have secured the services of Leyds and Senatla, two of the country's brightest backline talents, with an even younger player, the WP Rugby Institute's EW Viljoen, the next full-back in waiting within the union.
“We are naturally elated that Dillyn is returning to Cape Town – especially after the starring role he played for the cup-winning DHL Western Province Under-21 team in 2013,” said Coetzee.
“However, as with Demetri Catrakilis – who rejoined us from the Kings last year – we understand that a move away from Cape Town can only be a good thing for his development as a player and a person.
“Seabelo's signing is a real coup too, especially given the nature of the deal between us and SA Rugby. Seabelo has impressed at Junior World Cup level and on the international Sevens circuit. He has out and out pace and a high work-rate and we look forward to working with him later this year.”