With the cash-strapped Stormers continuing to struggle to hold onto all their high-profile stars, it has now been revealed that talented young utility forward Cobus Wiese is in advanced negotiations with Premiership giants Saracens to sign a five-year deal with the European champions – which would see him qualify to play for England.

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His imminent departure comes at a time when Stormers management is struggling with dwindling cash resources and ongoing boardroom battles. The 22-years-old giant has been a regular in the Stormers and Western Province teams for the last two years.

The deal seems set to go ahead, despite the salary cap saga that has enveloped the London outfit in recent weeks.

His departure will be the latest in a mass exodus of top stars – which includes World Cup-winning Springboks Eben Etzebeth (to Toulon in France) and Damian de Allende (to Wild Knights in Japan), as well as Dan Kriel (Lions), Corne Fourie (Gloucester, England), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Sharks), Michael Kumbirai (Sharks), Chris Massyn (Cheetahs), Kobus van Dyk (Eagles, Japan), Craig Barry (Cheetahs) and EW Viljoen (Leicester Tigers, England).

The revelation of another high-profile departure comes against the background of the ongoing cash-crunch at Newlands. It is believed that basics such as strapping and water for players are running low, although officials are reluctant to talk about the franchise’s financial status.

(Continue reading below…)

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It appears the negotiations surrounding the redevelopment (or sale) of the Newlands stadium and the planned move to the Cape Town stadium have hit some snags in recent weeks.

The deal with an investment bank for the redevelopment of Newlands may not be the proverbial ‘goose that lays golden eggs’.

Negotiations with the city council for the move to the Greenpoint venue are also not progressing as smoothly as Western Province Rugby Football Union officials want.

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Meanwhile, the Stormers’ pre-season preparations are stuttering along – given that several players are on loan to teams abroad and none of the World Cup-winning Boks will be available till mid-December.

Captain Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Herschel Jantjies will all take a well-deserved break. Damian Willemse is still on loan to Saracens.

@rugby365com

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