Tigers win player tug-of-war with Lions
TRANSFER NEWS: The Lions, currently on an Australasian Super Rugby tour, have lost the services of yet another senior player.
Cyle Brink, 26, has been released by the Ellis Park-based franchise with immediate effect.
“The Lions Rugby Company will release Cyle Brink from his contract, as requested by the player, with immediate effect,” Lions Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Straeuli said.
Weekend media reports have linked Brink with a move to Leicester Tigers.
However, Brink was waiting for Straeuli to give him clearance, as the CEO was in conversation with SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus to see if Brink is still in consideration for a place in the Springbok squad this year.
It appears Brink, who has been on the threshold of Bok selection for the last few years – and was part of the squad in 2018 before a knee injury cruelly ruled him – is not in the selection frame at the moment.
It helped Tigers to win the battle for his services.
Brink is currently on one of several lengthy spells on the sidelines, after he suffered an ankle-tendon injury in the Super Sunday pre-season outing against the Bulls in Soweto back in January.
He underwent surgery and has been ruled out for the entire Super Rugby season.
Apart from his 2018 setback, which still leaves him uncapped at international level, Brink suffered a wrist fracture last year.
Speaking about the signing of Brink, Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy was upbeat about the acquisition of the versatile forward.
“Cyle [Brink] is a physical, athletic and exciting talent who can play across the back row,” said Murphy.
“He has stood out for The Lions in the competitive environment of Super Rugby and Currie Cup over recent seasons and we look forward to welcoming him to Leicester ahead of next season.
“Cyle will add valuable depth to our back-row stocks, which will only see the competition for places in the side upped.”
Brink, speaking from South Africa, said Tigers has always been a club he has watched with a close interest while plying his trade in Super Rugby.
“Tigers is a club I have always been interested in and I knew, if I ever went over to Europe, Leicester was always one of the clubs I would have wanted to play for,” Brink said.
“I am keen to come over and keen for a change.
“I am excited for the different style of rugby and what I can add at Leicester Tigers.”
A versatile back-rower, who has featured across the back row for the Lions throughout his career, Brink also says the European game is one he believes will suit him.
“I have been told that northern hemisphere rugby is more suited to the game that I play,” added Brink.
“It is a very direct, hard game, which will suit me and the way I play the game.”
Asked about what Tigers supporters can expect from him, Brink said: “I like to be dominant in defence and contribute with big carries.
“I like to dominate collisions … I don’t like going backwards and never want someone to get the better of me in a tackle.
“I aim to get the better of the opposition in every collision and will for Leicester Tigers too.”
Brink’s addition is the fourth confirmed new signing ahead of the 2020/21 season following the announcements of Nemani Nadolo, Shalva Mamukashvili and Zack Henry.