Etzebeth set to join Saracens

Date published: October 10 2016

Springbok, Stormers and Western Province lock Eben Etzebeth is set to join English club Saracens after the November tour with South Africa.

Netwerk24 revealed the news on Sunday and a high ranking WP official confirmed the move to Planet Rugby on Monday.

It is still unclear how long the 24-year-old's stint with the English champions will be. Upon enquiry, Saracens' media officer Matthew Hennessey said: "I'm afraid we can't comment."

Gavin Lewis, head of marketing and PR at Western Province, referred enquiries to spokesperson Michael de Vries, who said he was aware of the reports of Etzebeth's impending move but explained that all his information on the matter was received via what he read on the matter in the media.

Etzebeth's agent is currently in Japan and didn't respond to a SMS enquiry on Monday afternoon. Etzebeth played for the NTT-Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan for three months at the conclusion of last year's World Cup but returned to represent the Stormers in Super Rugby.

It is unclear if the Saracens move is a similar deal, but if it is it would make little sense from a Stormers persepctive to allow it. It will rob Etzebeth of a much needed off season, something he also missed out on last year due to his Japan stint. The Premiership is also much more physical and demanding compared to the club rugby in Japan which hightens the risk of serious injury.

Etzebeth is set to join former Stormers looseforwards, Springbok Schalk Burger and Michael Rhodes at Saracens, who also have former Springbok hooker Schalk Brits on their books as well as former Sharks and England centre Brad Barritt who captains the side. 

by David Skippers and Kobus Pretorius