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Damian Willemse signs deal with Saracens

By Tom Vinicombe
Damian Willemse's similarities to Alex Goode will be welcomed by Saracens (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Stormers pivot and Springbok Damian Willemse has penned a deal to join the Saracens as injury cover for Alex Goode and Max Malins.


Willemse, who earned five caps for South Africa throughout 2018, was hopeful of making his national side and competing at the World Cup but missed out on selection to the likes of Handre Pollard, Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn.

His ommission from the World Cup squad has allowed him to link up with the English Premiership champions for the early stages of their campaign.

The Currie Cup will come to an end this weekend and with no other first-class rugby on the horizon for the remainder of the year, Willemse’s move will give the 21-year-old the opportunity to hone his skills in the Northern Hemisphere and will also provide the Saracens with a prodigious talent.

The Cape Town-born playmaker can cover both first five and fullback and started matches in both positions for the Stormers throughout their 2019 Super Rugby.

With Goode and Malins injured, and Owen Farrell at the World Cup, Willemse will have plenty of opportunities to step-in for the Saracens.


“We’re grateful to Western Province for allowing Damian to play his rugby at Saracens for the next three months,” Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall said.

“He is a young talent and we’re looking forward to welcoming him to the club.”

Willemse has accrued 30 caps for the Stormers since his debut in 2017 as an 18-year-old. His ability, promise and utility saw him called up to the Springboks squad during last year’s Rugby Championship and he debuted against Argentina in the first round of the competition. He earned his first start for South Africa against England on the opening game of their end-of-year tour but made no further appearances for the Springboks.

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