Taute signs with Stormers

Lions utility back Jaco Taute has signed a loan deal with the Stormers, but he also has the option of making a permanent move.

Taute has been linked to a season-long stint with the Cape franchise over the past two weeks, and the deal was finally signed on Tuesday afternoon.

The 21-year-old said he was looking forward to the new challenge.

‘I’m very excited,’ Taute told keo.co.za. ‘The Stormers have been a world-class team in recent seasons and I hope to make a valuable contribution next year.’

The deal should see the player return to the Lions in time for their Super Rugby promotion-relegation match against the last-placed South African team.

However, Taute revealed he could decide to extend his stay in Cape Town.

‘My contract with the Lions expires next season,’ said Taute. ‘So I could stay on with the Stormers if I wanted to. But we will see how things go in 2013.

‘I want to be part of a title-contending side. The Stormers have qualified for the play-offs over the past three years, and I want the opportunity to play in those big games. That’s what all players dream about, and I’m no different.’

When asked where he thinks he would feature in the Stormers line-up, Taute believed fullback would be the ideal position. He has been selected at centre for the Lions and Springboks in recent months, but the Stormers squad already has Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Marcel Brache and JP du Plessis in their midfield department.

‘I will play at centre or at fullback, but also I want to play where I’ll get a decent amount of game time,’ said Taute. ‘That would probably be fullback. I don’t mind because I’ve played there since I was a schoolboy, so I’m very comfortable in that position. I only started playing centre for the Lions because of their injury situation.’

Meanwhile, there is still no confirmation on Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies’ loan deal with the Stormers.

The 22-year-old is expected to follow Taute to the Cape franchise, but head coach Allister Coetzee said the player is yet to put pen to paper.

According to Lions president Kevin de Klerk: ‘Elton is still exploring his other options’.

Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant believes Jantjies will be a major addition to the team.

‘Elton has been producing some great performances at a high level,’ Grant told this site. ‘He is young and has progressed really well over the last few seasons. His style of play will definitely suit that of the Stormers.

‘He’s now had some valuable time with the Springboks, which will also boost his confidence.’

Grant, who’s currently playing for Japanese club Kobe Steelers, will join the Stormers for Super Rugby duty in February (the final fixture on the Japanese club calendar is the knockout final on 23 February).

With Grant’s club commitments, Demetri Catrakilis’ departure to the Southern Kings and other flyhalf injuries, Jantjies is likely to be handed a starting berth if he joins the Stormers next year.

By Gareth Duncan