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Wed 24 Jul 2019 | 12:53

'Old' Saffas link up at Leicester

'Old' Saffas link up at Leicester
Wed 24 Jul 2019 | 12:53
'Old' Saffas link up at Leicester

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Former Stormers utility back EW Viljoen opens up about his new club Leicester Tigers teammates and linking up with old ones Jaco Taute and Hanro Liebenberg.

Since the 24-year-old’s move from the South African franchise the Stormers side, Viljoen has spent his time in the East Midlands wisely – learning about Premiership and European rugby.

“I’ve been looking forward to it since I knew I was coming to Leicester,” said Viljoen.

“I’ve been following Tigers and doing my research on English and European rugby to learn more about the club and the game over here.

“What I did already know was that this is definitely the most-supported club in Europe and the fans are great and turn up in numbers to each game, home and away,” he said.

The Bloemfontein-born outside-back has spent the past six seasons in the Stormers system. He was first invited to train with the Cape Town club’s senior squad in 2014 – at just 18 years old the back trained alongside former Tigers and Springbok internationals Jean de Villiers and Pat Cilliers.

The 2014 Stormers squad also included the likes of Schalk Burger, Eben Etzebeth and Duane Vermeulen, as well as fellow Tigers, recruit Jaco Taute – who was a senior member of the Super Rugby and Western Province Currie Cup squad at the time.

Speaking about linking up again with Taute, Viljoen said: “It’s great joining up with him again and I’m looking forward to playing together again.”

“I won’t say he’s old,” Viljoen said through a smile, before adding: “but he’s been around the block and had his Springboks experience and passed on a lot of that knowledge at Province – which I am sure he will do here as well.”

Meanwhile, Taute who moved from Munster to Leicester shared his feelings on fellow South African Viljoen and also commented on his transition from Limerick to ‘Leicester Lad’

“[Viljoen and I] played together at Western Province … he’s a very good lad,” Taute said of Viljoen.

“It’s nice to see him and meet up again.”

“It has really been awesome getting to the know the lads and the setup,” Taute told Leicester Tigers TV on location in Aldershot for a pre-season training camp out of an army training facility.

“Everyone has been great and friendly … Tigers have been very welcoming and made it easier to do my thing.

The 28-year-old came up against Tigers three seasons ago, even scoring for Munster in the European fixture, and discussed his experience as an away player at Welford Road with LTTV – as well as sharing his adoration for the club and similarities to the Irish provincial side he called home for three years.

“It’s a club of similar values to Munster, where I played before,” he said.

“Tigers is a club with a rich history and great fan base … it’s awesome to be here at a club I really admire.”


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'Old' Saffas link up at Leicester | Rugby365