RUGBY NEWS - Despite a Covid-19-induced hiatus in the rugby season, Knysna-born World Cup winner Warrick Gelant has secured a move from the Bulls to the Stormers, and in doing so, attained a "childhood dream".
Gelant had made his 50th Super Rugby appearance for the Pretoria-based franchise against Argentinian outfit Jaguares earlier this season, almost four years to the day after he ran out for the Bulls in Super Rugby for the first time against the very franchise he will now represent.
After coming up through the South Western Districts (SWD) ranks at school level, Gelant joined the Bulls union the year after completing school, being included in their 2014 Vodacom Cup squad. He ended up not running out for the Bulls that season, instead playing for UP Tuks in the Varsity Cup.
He was also included in the Bulls' Super Rugby squad for the 2015 season but again didn't represent the side as he was called up to represent the Blitzboks. Gelant would eventually make his Super Rugby debut on 27 February 2016, starting against the Stormers. Despite not bagging any points on debut, Gelant still impressed 12 carries and a try assist. He made three more appearances for the Bulls that season, eventually becoming a regular fixture in the side in the 2017 season with 10 of his 15 appearances in the starting XV bagging him 20 points and 18 try assists. The 2018 season was his most prolific to date, starting 14 of the 15 games he played, and notching up 35 points and 24 try assists.
Despite enjoying a more mediocre domestic season by his standards in 2019 with only 15 points and 13 try assists in his 12 games, this was outshone by his success on the international stage where he bagged two tries in his two games during the Springboks' successful 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign. He carried this form into the start of the 2020 Super Rugby season, generally proving to be the better player in a generally underwhelming Bulls side.
With three tries to his name this season and 52 Super Rugby caps under his belt overall when the Covid-19 break began, Gelant was looking to take the next step in his development as a player.
"It was an opportunity for growth together with a childhood dream," Gelant told Knysna-Plett Herald.
"I'm happy with the foundation part of my career and what I've learned here [Bulls], but to become the complete player is to add a lot more to your arsenal and the next level of my growth is at the Stormers."
Gelant named his 50th Super Rugby cap as the highlight of his time with the Bulls, but this is a drop in the ocean of memories he leaves with. "My entire professional career to date was here. Everything I've learnt as a player and human being, together with all my memories were here."
Stormers coach John Dobson is excited at the prospect of adding Gelant to the side. "Warrick has established himself as one of the most dynamic backline players in South Africa, so we could not be more thrilled to have him on our books going forward," said Dobson according to Sport24.
Gelant is himself eager to join the Stormers' ranks once rugby resumes. "I'm really looking forward to joining the new squad. I've played with some guys at junior level, I have friends here too, and there are new players with great skill sets, so overall, very exciting."
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