South African lock Gerbrandt Grobler leaves Gloucester for Stade Français

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FILE PHOTO: South Africa’s Gerbrandt Grobler in action for Gloucester against Exeter Chiefs. COURTESY: Gloucester Rugby

Lock Gerbrandt Grobler became the latest South African player to leave English Premiership Rugby side Gloucester as the club tries to come to grips with a string of departures.

Grobler joined French Top 14 outfit Stade Français, who finished bottom of the league last season but avoided relegation due to the campaign being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grobler had signed from Irish Guinness PRO14 club Munster in 2018 and made 23 appearances for Gloucester.

“We’d like to thank Gerbrandt for his time representing the Cherry & Whites and wish him well for the future,” a statement from Gloucester read.

Grobler, 28, has previously played for Western Province and the DHL Stormers in South Africa and another French Top 14 club, Racing 92.

Reports of an internal struggle at the club were followed by an exodus of players and staff led by popular former South African head coach Johan Ackermann.

Ackermann, who went to Japanese Top League side NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes, left his role in May after three years in charge. There were rumours of Gloucester’s playing squad being unhappy with Ackermann’s methods.

Former Gloucester Director of Rugby David Humphreys was then embroiled in a power battle with the players and board over the appointment of the next head coach.

Hooker Franco Marais and Rugby World Cup winning lock Franco Mostert also left the club with Marais joining Japanese Top League side NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes while Mostert was reportedly on his way to another Japanese club Honda Heat.

Former Springbok and Lions prop Ruan Dreyer also left the club following an injury-plagued spell.

Gloucester chief executive Lance Bradley had told the BBC previously that he did not expect the club’s South African contingent to leave en masse following Ackermann’s exit.

“They’re part of the club and have fitted in very well. I’m expecting that to continue to be the case,” Bradley said at the time.

Despite those exits, Ackermann’s son, Ruan, who is a flanker, and prop/hooker Corné Fourie are still on Gloucester’s books.

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