Northampton Saints scrum-half Nic Groom has left the club with immediate effect.
Groom has left the Saints with immediate effect to South African Super Rugby side, The Lions.
The Lions have been struggling with injuries at scrum-half and will be able to select Groom with immediate effect.
Fellow South African Cobus Reinach will likely take over as the Saints first-choice nine. An impressive replacement with ten Springbok caps to his name.
Groom arrived at Northampton in 2016 and soon established himself as the first choice scrum-half. The South African has made 51 appearances and scored seven tries during his time in the Black, Green and Gold.
“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 teammates, 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!”
Saints interim head coach Alan Dickens added: “Groomy has had a big impact in his two years at Franklin’s Gardens. He has had a very positive influence, both on and off the pitch, and I am sure he will be missed by many Saints supporters.
“But he leaves with our very best wishes and I hope he can achieve everything he wants to back home in South Africa.”