Lions lose another leading player to Europe

Lions lose another leading player to Europe

The Lions have lost another player to European rugby. This time it is scrumhalf Nic Groom who leaves the Johannesburg franchise.

Groom will play for one of the two professional Scotland clubs Edinburgh, his second signing with an overseas club. Edinburgh confirmed his contract on Thursday.

Groom, 29, played for the Northampton Saints from 2016-18 after starting his career at the Stormers. He has played in more than 100 matches for these two teams.

Groom, who joined the Lions during 2018 after Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronje was injured, was involved in 13 of the 16 matches for the Lions this year during which he was rotated with the Bok halfback.

His move was confirmed on the Edinburg website. Edinburg plays in the Pro 14 competition.

♦ Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill viewed Groom as “a really intelligent player who has consistently been a standout performer during his time in Super Rugby and the English Premiership.

“That experience in the number nine jersey is obviously key, but Nic’s ability to snipe and create opportunities in and around the fringes brings a different dynamic to our squad, while his addition clearly creates competition for places.

“We’ve been looking at Nic for a while now, so it’s great to finally welcome him to Edinburgh. We’re really hopeful that he can make a strong impact in the seasons to come.”

♦ Groom, who was a winner of the Varsity Cup with Ikeys in 2011, also represented the SA ‘A’ team against the England Saxons in 2016 and a double Currie Cup winner with Western Province in 2012 and 2014 – for whom he scored 50 points in 69 appearances. He broke into the Stormers’ Super Rugby side in 2014, starting 12 out of their 16 games.

♦ Groom became a regular feature in the Northampton Saints' starting XV and was instrumental in them securing Heineken Champions Cup rugby for the 2017/18 season, appearing in both European play-off games that saw the English side defeat Connacht and Stade Francais to secure their spot in the competition for the following season.

He has also played for the British Barbarians.

On the website, Groom said: “I'm really excited to link-up with Edinburgh. I've been keeping an eye on their results from South Africa and it’s definitely a club on the rise. I can’t wait to play my role in the seasons to come.

“My time at the Lions has been awesome. I've had the chance to work with fantastic coaches alongside some great players and I'm hugely grateful for the opportunity they gave me to play for them.

“From what I’ve heard, Edinburgh is a great place to live and play your rugby. My family can't wait for the adventure that lies ahead.”