21 May 2020
Coach John Dobson says he spoke with Damian Willemse before the Stormers entered into negotiations with Warrick Gelant.
WP Rugby announced the signing of the Springbok fullback on Wednesday. The 25-year-old turned down a contract extension from the Bulls as well as an offer from the Lions.
Dobson confirmed that Gelant would be the Stormers' first-choice fullback with Willemse – who has played 10 and 15 – settling at flyhalf.
'The first person before we even spoke seriously to Warrick was Damian and he was thrilled at the idea,' said the coach on Thursday. 'When I told Siya [Kolisi] about it he got on the phone to Warrick because he is a great professional and a good team man who looks after himself really well.
'We run it by the players, there is no point bringing in players who aren’t going to fit in.
'Damian is very happy where he is, it is what is good for the team and we are going to make him into a very good Super Rugby flyhalf.
'Damian is one of the best Super Rugby 10s in South Africa and he is going to get even better with more time to prepare and train and focus on that position.'
With Jean-Luc du Plessis heading to Japan and Willemse focusing on 10, Dobson said it presented a good opportunity to develop some of the promising young flyhalves in the system.
'We are really pleased with the youngsters we have got at 10. There is Sacha Mngomezulu, who is two or three years away, Kade Wolhuter has come back from Montpellier, and Christopher Schreuder and Mossie Mostert, who are all really good 10s.'
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