Injury crisis forces Lions to look abroad for new No 9
Cape Town - Scrumhalf Nic Groom has left English club Northampton Saints to join the Lions in Super Rugby.
Northampton confirmed the news via their official website on Tuesday:
“Northampton Saints can today confirm that scrumhalf Nic Groom will be leaving the club with immediate effect to return to his native South Africa. Groom will link up with the Lions in South Africa and is immediately available for selection in Super Rugby, with the Johannesburg-based franchise currently struggling with injuries," read a statement posted by the Saints.
The 28-year-old joined Northampton from the Stormers in 2016 and quickly established himself in Saints’ starting line-up, making 51 appearances and scoring seven tries.
“I have loved the opportunity to come over to the UK and play for such a great club in Northampton Saints,” said Groom.
“But the time has come for me to return to South Africa. An opportunity has come up to return home, and I am grateful to the club for allowing me to head back early to try and make my mark.
“The Northampton Saints, the supporters and the local community will always have a special place in my heart. Playing at Franklin’s Gardens in front of these fans has been an honour, and I will cherish every moment of my time here.
“I want to thank my team-mates, coaches and the friends that I have made since moving, and I wish them all the best for the future. I leave Northampton a better man with a heavy heart, but I have no doubt the club will be flying in no time - come on you Saints!”
Saints’ interim head coach Alan Dickens added: “Groomy has had a big impact in his two years at Franklin’s Gardens. He has had a very positive influence, both on and off the pitch, and I am sure he will be missed by many Saints supporters.
“But he leaves with our very best wishes and I hope he can achieve everything he wants to back home in South Africa.”