Star quartet extends Cape stay
Cape Town - Key Stormers forwards Eben Etzebeth
, Deon Fourie, De Kock Steenkamp and Rynhardt Elstadt have extended their playing contracts with Western Province Rugby.
Etzebeth - the 2012 SA Rugby Young Player of the Year, and WP Players' Player of the Year - has extended his stay at Western Province until 2016, the powerful young lock having quickly established himself as a key man for Western Province, the Stormers and his country.
The 21-year-old also made his Springbok debut last year, going on to play in 11 Tests for South Africa, and also being a key member of WP's Currie Cup-winning team - all in his first season of senior rugby.
Fourie (hooker/flank), Steenkamp (lock) and Elstadt (flank/lock), meanwhile, have all put pen to paper until 2015.
Fourie was a standout at flank for WP last year as he captained them to their first Currie Cup title since 2001 and has shown his immense talent by slotting back seamlessly into the hooker's berth for the Stormers this season. The 26-year-old also walked off with the 2012 Currie Cup Player of the Year Award for his efforts, as well as the Western Province MVP Award last year.
Steenkamp, 26, has been a consistent performer for the Stormers this season, packing down in the No 4 jersey after wearing the No 5 shirt in his team's memorable Currie Cup final triumph. Having played over 50 provincial matches for WP, he is also nearing the magical 50-match mark for the Stormers at Super Rugby level.
Elstadt, despite being just 24 years old, adds a physical presence to the Stormers and WP packs with his no-nonsense style of play, having worked his way up through the WP ranks at Under-19, U21, Varsity Cup, Vodacom and Currie Cup level.
Speaking about these four re-signings, Stormers coach Allister Coetzee
commented: "Eben, Deon, De Kock and Rynhardt are all key members of our pack - it's great news that we have re-signed all four players; all of whom are still young and have their best rugby ahead of them.
"Eben showed last year that he is one of the best young rugby players in the world, Deon showed great versatility and leadership during the Currie Cup last year and De Kock and Rynhardt are also massively crucial to our future and depth. We're delighted to have secured the futures of all four players."
The Stormers are currently on their four-game Australasian tour, which starts with a game against the Hurricanes in Palmerston North on Friday. After that, they also face the Blues, Waratahs and Rebels.
Fact files:Deon Fourie
Stormers appearances: 62
WP appearances: 80Eben Etzebeth
Stormers appearances: 13
WP appearances: 3De Kock Steenkamp
Stormers appearances: 41
WP appearances: 50Rynhardt Elstadt
Stormers appearances: 32
WP appearances: 17