Currie Cup

Pumas skipper Englebrecht heading to Stormers a champion: 'What he's given rugby, he's getting back'

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Willie Engelbrecht (Lloyd Burnard)
Willie Engelbrecht (Lloyd Burnard)
  • Pumas captain Willie Engelbrecht was in shock following Saturday's Currie Cup final victory. 
  • The 29-year-old has signed a deal with the Stormers, starting next month. 
  • Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse was full of praise for his skipper. 

Saturday's Currie Cup final at Griqua Park was a day that none of the victorious Pumas will ever forget. 

When skipper Willie Engelbrecht launched the trophy into the Kimberley evening sky, the emotion that poured out of every one of his players told its own story of exactly how much this one meant. 

WATCH | Pumas skipper Willie Engelbrecht lifts Currie Cup trophy

The Pumas had never contested a Currie Cup final before this, and their 26-19 win over the more heavily-fancied Griquas cemented their place in South African rugby history.

Coach Jimmy Stonehouse said afterwards that this was the greatest moment of his career, which is almost certainly the case for his 23 match-day players, too. 

Stonehouse hopes this win will elevate his players to greater heights and more lucrative deals at bigger unions, but for Englebrecht, that path is already secured. 

The 29-year-old will join the United Rugby Championship-winning Stormers on a two-year deal starting next month, meaning his final act for the Pumas was to skipper them to glory on the stage that mattered most. 

Engelbrecht did spend a brief period on loan at the Stormers last year, but he was snapped back up by the Pumas when the Rainbow Cup overseas legs were canned thanks to Covid-19. 

"He's an amazing kid, and he's gone through a lot of stuff in his life," Stonehouse said of his skipper during Saturday's celebrations.

"He's an amazing man, and what he has given to rugby is just coming back to him with getting this offer at the Stormers.

"What he brought out there again today was just amazing."

Engelbrecht, a try-scorer on Saturday, struggled to digest the enormity of what the Pumas had achieved. 

"The feeling at this stage will take a while to sink in," he told Sport24. 

"For some or other reason, everything just went our way. We're the champions ... that's a weird thing to be able to say.

"For us, smaller unions to come out on top means the world because now the big unions wonder what they might be doing wrong. It's a massive honour to lift this trophy, and for the Pumas, it means the world."

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