Stormers utility back Damian Willemse has signed a three-year contract extension with Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR).
The 22-year-old playmaker has been a longstanding target for the Bulls but the Springbok opted to stay in the Cape, with the news confirmed on Friday morning.
A product of the Western Province youth structures, Willemse made his Stormers debut in 2017 at the age of 18 and went on to lift the Currie Cup with Western Province later that year.
He has since gone on to earn 40 caps for the Stormers and has worn the famous blue and white hoops of Western Province 24 times.
Willemse played SA Schools in 2015 and 2016, then went on to play for the Junior Springboks in 2016 and 2017 before making his Springbok debut in 2018 and forming part of the Rugby World Cup-winning squad in 2019.
The fleet-footed Willemse can play flyhalf, fullback and inside centre.
Stormers coach John Dobson said securing a player of Willemse's talents for the next three years was encouraging.
"Damian is the kind of player that every coach would love to work with, he has natural ability in abundance and works incredibly hard.
"We are all looking forward to working with him to keep improving so that he is able to reach his considerable potential and help us play the brand of eye-catching rugby that our fans want to see," he told the Stormers' official website.
WPPR chairperson Ebrahim Rasool said that a player of Willemse’s calibre committing for three years shows that the future is bright for the union.
“Damian is a proud product of our structures in the greatest rugby talent pool in the world and to have him sign on for the next three years is very exciting.
“Retaining a player like Damian who is in such demand shows how serious we are about our vision for the future and we are looking forward to confirming more high-profile players who have decided to join us on this journey in the coming weeks," he said.
??Backline star Damian Willemse has signed a three-year contract extension.— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS) March 12, 2021
???'Damian is the kind of player that every coach would love to work with, he has natural ability in abundance and works incredibly hard'https://t.co/cgyQ4kyK1g #iamastormer #damianisastormer pic.twitter.com/Bx9FV0Eb9D