WP Rugby today confirmed that Vodacom Stormers captain and long-serving centre Jean de Villiers will depart for Irish club Munster later this week.
“We are obviously sad to be losing Jean. As a captain and a player he has contributed significantly both on and off the pitch. Whilst we did everything in our power to retain his services, Jean has made up his mind to join the great Irish club Munster,” said WP Rugby (Pty) Ltd Managing Director Rob Wagner.
“Western Province Rugby is sorry he is departing,” continued Wagner, “but we thank him for all that he has done for, and meant to Western Province and the Stormers and hope to see him back in the future. We wish him all of the very best with Munster.”
One of the special talents that were brought through the age group ranks from his school playing days at Paarl Gymnasium, Jean has represented the Union with distinction at Craven Week, under 21 and senior team level, wearing the Blue and White Hooped jersey in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup, as well as the Stormers jumper in the Super Rugby tournament.
“Newlands is a very special place and the Newlands faithful are an awesome crowd to play in front of,” said de Villiers. “I am extremely privileged and proud to have played my rugby here in the Cape and to have progressed through the WP ranks. WP is my rugby home, it has shaped the player I am and provided me with some amazing opportunities. I will always be grateful and leave with only positives in my heart. I am definitely going to miss it.”
De Villiers leaves the Province, with 37 WP and 53 Stormers caps to his name. He made his provincial debut in the Vodacom Cup in 2001, stepping up to Currie Cup level the following year and has showed exceptional leadership skills throughout his career, captaining both the Under 21’s and Senior teams at Currie Cup and Super Rugby level.
“I have an exciting new challenge to take up in Munster which I am looking forward to. Playing in Ireland outside of my comfort zone will no doubt grow me as an individual and a player and I aim to grab the opportunity with both hands,” commented De Villiers.
“A special thank you to all I have played with and for and those that in any way have contributed to my enjoyment of the game. I wish WP every success in this year’s Currie Cup, there are some exciting new players and positive momentum and I know they can be successful. A huge thank you to the Province supporters, you are what makes rugby great here.”
According to Munster’s website, De Villiers will undergo the usual medical and fitness tests before joining up with the Munster squad. It is expected that he may feature in Munster’s squad for the game against Dragons in Musgrave Park on Sunday 27 September.