Jamie Roberts leaves Bath to join Stormers in Super Rugby
Former Wales centre admits he had goal to play rugby in the southern hemisphere
Jamie Roberts has been released from his Bath contract so he can join the Stormers in South Africa. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Former Wales centre Jamie Roberts is to leave Bath with immediate effect to play the 2020 Super Rugby season with Siya Kolisi’s Stormers.
Roberts, capped 94 times by Wales and with three Lions Test appearances, arrived at the Recreation Ground from Harlequins in 2018 and has been granted early release from his contract.
The Stormers have recruited the 33-year-old to add experience to their rookie backline and also act as a mentor, performing a “major role in nurturing the talent around him in Cape Town”.
“It has long been a goal of mine to play in the southern hemisphere. While I’m looking forward to wearing the shirt, my key drive is to perform on the pitch, win week in week out and to help to drive success,” Roberts said.
“Every time I have been to South Africa it has always struck me as a beautiful country with rugby at its heart, which reminds me very much of home. It feels very special to be able to come and play rugby in South Africa.
“It will also be a fantastic opportunity for me to help impart some knowledge and insight on the many talented youngsters that we have here.”
Roberts, a qualified doctor, has also played for Cardiff Blues and Racing Metro in a well travelled 13-year professional career.
“I owe huge thanks to Bath for accepting my release and allowing me to take up this incredible opportunity,” he said.
“I didn’t think at this stage in my career that an opportunity like this would come my way. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’m certain will not come around again.”
To replace Roberts, Bath have signed Fiji centre Josh Matavesi from Newcastle with immediate effect.
The Stormers open their season at home to New Zealand’s Wellington Hurricanes on February 1st.