Cape Town - The Blue Bulls believe they can turn young Western Province flyhalf Damian Willemse into a world-class player.
Xander Janse van Rensburg, the Blue Bulls’ high performance manager, confirmed to Netwerk24 that they have been in contact with Willemse for the past six months.
Willemse, a scholar at Paul Roos, starred for the WP Under-18 side during last week’s Craven Week at Kearsney College near Durban.
WP won the unofficial final when they beat the Golden Lions 27-20.
“Damian is already an outstanding player and we feel we can turn him into a world-class player like Handre Pollard. Our policy is to recruit and develop the best players," Janse van Rensburg said.
Pollard, the Springbok flyhalf, is also a former WP schools star who was lured to Pretoria.
Willemse earlier this week confirmed the Bulls' interest but indicated that he would prefer to stay in the Cape.
“To be honest, I would prefer to stay here. I was born in WP and would one day like to die a WP man. I really want to stay here, but I’m currently negotiating with the Bulls’ Xander Janse van Rensburg.
“They are keen for me to go there and the plans they laid out for me look promising. I’m looking forward to it, but haven’t made final decision yet.
“Unfortunately I haven’t received feedback from WP which makes it tough for me (to stay in the Cape).”
Despite the Bulls’ offer, WP’s director of rugby Gert Smal insists that Willemse will stay at Western Province.
“We’re in control of his contract. There are just a few details that need to be sorted out,” Smal insisted.
Losing Willemse would be a big blow for WP, who have already lost the services of three promising youngsters to the Golden Lions.
Sport24 recently reported that Gianni Lombard (fullback), Manuel Rass (centre) and Khanya Ncusane (No 8) would be heading north next year.
The three Paarl Boys’ High scholars also starred for WP’s Under-18 side during last week’s Craven Week, where the Cape side defeated the Golden Lions in the unofficial final at Kearsney College near Durban.
But the trio will next year join the very same team they helped defeat 27-20 at the Craven Week.
WP president Thelo Wakefield earlier this week also expressed his disappointed at losing the trio to the Lions.