Province ponder prop problem

Vodacom Western Province’s attempts to sign France tighthead Pieter de Villiers for next year have failed.

The union has been on the hunt for an established No 3 for awhile now. While 21-year-old Brock Harris has acquitted himself admirably in the Absa Currie Cup, he still has some way to go to match the quality of front rowers in the Vodacom Super 14.

Former Springbok Cobus Visagie has also been a target, but the deal to sign him fell through due to Saracens refusing to release him from his contract. While Visagie seemed interested in the move, De Villiers has little reason to return to the Cape. The 34 year old is earning a whopping salary at Stade Francais, and should also play in the World Cup next year for the French. He also has various business and property interests in Paris, as well as a French wife and two children who are keeping him firmly bound to his adopted country.

Eddie Andrews did not have a great season for the Vodacom Stormers at No 3, and has been used sparingly for the Springboks in that position this year. The failure of the Cape Town franchise in 2006 has prescribed the search for a saviour in the scrums, someone who can answer the challenge of the Australasians in the set pieces.

The Stormers have already signed Conrad Jantjes, Breyton Paulse and Tiaan Liebenberg for next year’s competition, and Fijian Sireli Naqelevuki is currently in negotiations to allow him to remain in Cape Town. The team will also be able to draw on the talent of the Boland, who have acquired some big names for the 2007 season.