Tigers challenge Sharks for South African imports
TRANSFER NEWS: Leicester Tigers made a giant leap towards challenging Sale Sharks as the team with the most South Africans.
Tigers on Monday announced the signings of Eli Snyman, Marco Van Staden and Francois Van Wyk – ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
The trio of signings takes up to nine South Africans in the Tigers camp – joining Jasper Wiese, Hanro Liebenberg, Cyle Brink, Jaco Taute, Kobus Van Wyk and Luan de Bruin.
Sale Sharks have two more SA players – Lodewyk de Jager, Francois de Klerk, Francois de Klerk, Armand Van Der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jean-Pierre du Preez, Daniel du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Robert du Preez, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jono Ross and Cobus Wiese.
Second row forward Snyman, currently playing for Benetton Rugby in Italy, said he was excited about working under Tigers coach Steve Borthwick in Leicester.
He played for the Bulls between 2016 and 2019, before moving to Italy.
“Speaking with Steve, I am really excited about his vision for the club and I have been following the games so far this season and it has been great to see the team doing well, it’s exciting to know I will be a part of it,” Snyman said
Van Staden, who has made three Test appearances for South Africa, will join Tigers from Super Rugby side the Bulls.
Discussing his move, the back row forward said: “I will give everything towards what the coach expects of me. I like the physical parts of the game and will do my best to add to the team in those areas.
“I believe the style of the game in the Premiership suits me, in the physical battles, and I am really looking forward to playing that style of rugby at Leicester Tigers.”
Front row forward Van Wyk, who will arrive from Northampton Saints at the conclusion of the current Premiership campaign, previously played for Western Province and the Western Force.
He admitted he was looking forward to the “challenge” of joining the Tigers pack.
“It is going to be a great challenge to be a part of a group with so many world-class players and to join what is becoming one of the best forward packs in the competition,” said Van Wyk.
“I have ambitions to grow as a player and I believe I can do that at Tigers as part of this group Steve Borthwick is building.”
Meanwhile, Tigers have also welcomed Scotland international prop Darryl Marfo to Leicester on a short-term deal commencing this week.
The front row forward has had previous spells with Premiership clubs Harlequins and Bath, as well as representing Edinburgh and Ospreys in the Pro14.
Marfo has begun training with his new Tigers team-mates.
The club confirmed the re-signing of six players on Monday – including internationals Dan Cole and Nemani Nadolo, South African back row forward Jasper Wiese and youngsters Ollie Chessum, Dan Kelly and James Whitcombe.
Speaking about the 10 player announcements, Tigers coach Steve Borthwick said: “It is a very exciting day for everybody involved with Leicester Tigers.
“We are excited about the additions of Eli, Marco and Francois next season and know they will be great assets to our club.
“Meanwhile, Darryl adds important depth to our pack.
“To have experienced players like Dan and Nemani commit to what we are building is very pleasing and the Tigers community should be buoyed by their re-signings.
“Jasper has been very impressive since arriving in Leicester this season and has earned this new contract on the back of not only his performances on the pitch, but also his commitment to the club and hard work off the field.”
Regarding the re-signings of exciting youngsters Chessum, Kelly and Whitcombe, head coach Borthwick added: “I have spoken at length about the work we have put in behind the scenes to re-shape this squad and my want to have players who are willing to do the hard work required.
“All of the players we have announced as joining or recommitting to Leicester Tigers represent those values, and Ollie, Dan and James are great examples of players who are not only working hard every day to improve, but also have a great passion for this club and understand what is required to represent this club, our community and supporters.
“The hard work must now continue at the levels we have set as acceptable for this club, which we are seeing progress from, and raise expectations of supporters, who we are excited to welcome back when it is safe to do so.
“The support from home of Tigers supporters and our club partners has been exceptional, which we feel very privileged to have as we are all on this journey together.”