Stags re-sign de Groot

Coming through..... Highlander Ethan de Groot breaks out of a tackle during a Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Highlanders and Hurricanes last year. Photo: Otago Daily Times Files

All Black and Highlander Ethan de Groot has recommitted to the Southland Stags for 2022.

The 23-year-old 135kg loosehead from Gore is in the midst of the Super Rugby Pacific with the Highlanders.

With 17 games for Southland over the past four seasons, de Groot was set to run out on Rugby Park last season as Southland’s newest homegrown All Black.

A pandemic and a long All Blacks international tour put a stop to that.

Stags assistant coach James Wilson said he was thrilled to have a player of De Groot’s calibre commit to Southland after a blockbuster 2021 season for the young prop.

“Ethan’s rise in the last three years is testament to his professional attitude on and off the field.”

He was an example of how hard work and dedication paid off, Wilson said.

“We have no doubt Ethan’s influence and attitude will only make our environment here in Southland a better one”.

De Groot said playing for Southland was about about giving back to those who moulded him into a player worthy of the All Black jersey.

“Playing for Southland means everything to me, not just the Stags, but playing for Southland through age grade with my mates and all the great coaches I’ve had.”