The Ospreys are delighted to confirm the signing of South African centre Stefan Watermeyer.
23-year old Watermeyer arrived in the region this week to complete a move from Currie Cup side Blue Bulls on a deal that runs initially to the end of the season with an option to extend.
Born in Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Province in the northeast of South Africa, Watermeyer stands 1.85m tall and weighs in at 96kg. He received international honours at age-grade level, previously playing in Wales at the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship.
A highly rated attacking centre with a physical edge, Watermeyer has been a part of Super Rugby franchise The Bulls squad for the past two years.
Uncapped at senior level, he will count as a ‘time-serving’ player alongside fellow South African Hanno Dirksen, and could become eligible to play for Wales.
Speaking about his move to Ospreylia, Watermeyer said:
“I’m very excited to join the Ospreys. It’s been a while since we first spoke about coming over back in October, there were regulations to go through, but now I’m here I just want to get on the pitch again.
“It’s a big move for me, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, go and play overseas. It’s going to be a great experience for me, something of the unknown for me, but that’s what I like. It’s a personal challenge for me, taking me out of my comfort zone. I’m excited and looking forward to showing what I can do here.
“I know that Stefan Terblanche was at the Ospreys before, I don’t think I’ll be filling his shoes, I just hope that they speak as high of me when I leave as they do of him. He had a very successful time with the team and hopefully I can as well.
“There’s a lot of good players here, with international exposure, who I’m looking forward to training with and trying to learn from, to understand the set-up. I’m here initially until the end of the season but I want to do enough to show the coaches that I can be an Ospreys player for a lot longer.”
Director of Coaching, Scott Johnson, said:
“He’s going to bring typical South African resilience and grit in midfield, but there’s a fair bit of skill in there as well. He’s certainly an aggressive centre with a good pedigree in the game, and I believe he can be a very good player not only for the Ospreys but, in the future, for Wales as well.
“He will provide greater depth for us in an area where we don’t have too many options at the moment, and will put the right kind of pressure on Ashley which is a good thing for him and for the Ospreys.
“We are allowed two non-capped foreigners in our squad so he joins Hanno in our regulation two. He’s young and he fits our profile. We didn’t go to the market for a big name, we wanted someone who fitted our ethic. He has very good qualities that will I’m sure see him settling in very well at the region and having an impact.
“We only had one non-Welsh player in our starting line-up at the weekend against Munster, despite having so many players absent for whatever reason. We pride ourselves on developing local talent, but it is absolutely right for us to supplement that talent with players who show the right characteristics and desire to help grow the Ospreys, when we identify someone who suits our needs, as is the case with Stefan.
"Just as we develop local players, we've got a proven track record of identifying non-Welsh players and through our sound development principles are able to develop them so they reach their full potential, people like Tommy Bowe and Nikki Walker, as well as someone like Filo who we were able to reinvigorate and give a new lease of life to. The difference with Stefan is he could become Welsh qualified meaning the whole country will benefit."