Northampton Saints scrumhalf joins Lions for Super Rugby

Nic Groom scores Northampton in the English Premiership. Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Scrumhalf Nic Groom will be fighting for a Springbok jersey over the next couple of months.

English Premiership club Northampton Saints confirmed yesterday that Groom is leaving the team to return to South Africa and play for the Lions in Super Rugby.

The former Stormers scrumhalf will be now be illegible to play for the Springboks in the June series against England, as the '30-cap' rule for overseas-based is still in place, although it looks like it will be scrapped sooner rather than later.

"Northampton Saints can today confirm that scrumhalf Nic Groom will be leaving the club with immediate effect to return to his native South Africa. Groom will link up with the Lions in South Africa and is immediately available for selection in Super Rugby, with the Johannesburg-based franchise currently struggling with injuries," the Saints said in a statement.

The 28-year-old Groom joined Northampton from the Stormers in 2016, making 51 appearances and scoring seven tries.

"I have loved the opportunity to come over to the UK and play for such a great club in Northampton Saints," said Groom.

"But the time has come for me to return to South Africa. An opportunity has come up to return home, and I am grateful to the club for allowing me to head back early to try and make my mark.

"The Northampton Saints, the supporters and the local community will always have a special place in my heart. Playing at Franklin's Gardens in front of these fans has been an honour, and I will cherish every moment of my time here.

"I want to thank my team-mates, coaches and the friends that I have made since moving, and I wish them all the best for the future. I leave Northampton a better man with a heavy heart, but I have no doubt the club will be flying in no time - come on you Saints!"