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Northampton Saints scrum-half Nic Groom heads back to Super Rugby

(Photo: Getty Images)

By Adam Ellis

Nic Groom has left Franklin’s Gardens with immediate effect after signing for Super Rugby franchise Lions to return to South Africa.

Northampton granted the 28-year-old permission to talk to the Johannesburg-based side, as countryman Cobus Reinach now looks to make the 9 jersey for the Aviva Premiership club his own.

The Lions are without first-choice scrum-half Ross Cronje due to a rib injury and Groom explained how this was an opportune moment to return to his homeland ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“I have loved the opportunity to come over to the UK and play for such a great club in Northampton Saints,” Groom told the club’s official website.

“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.”

Signed from the Stormers in 2016, Groom has made 51 appearances for Northampton and scored 7 tries in that time.

Thanking the player for his service, Saints interim head coach Alan Dickens said: “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.”

Groom becomes available for the Lions next match in Super Rugby on Saturday against his old side the Stormers at Ellis Park.

And is also eligible for selection in the Springboks’ home series against England in June after the SARU imposed a 30-cap overseas rule to curtail the country’s exodus of promising talent to France and Japan. Though new Springboks head coach & director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is looking to quash to rule.

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