Bulls lure Griquas captain to Pretoria
TRANSFER NEWS: Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White has already plugged the gap left by the departure of Springbok scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl.
Just a day after the Bulls formally bid farewell to the six-times capped Bok, Van Zyl, Griquas confirmed the departure of Izak Burger – who is joining the Bulls with immediate effect.
Burger, affectionately known by his teammates as Zak, joined Griquas in 2018 from the Sharks and represented the team on 30 occasions.
During his time in Kimberley Burger enjoyed great success with the team winning – the domestic Challenge Cup in 2019.
He also played a pivotal role in helping the team reach the semifinal of the Currie Cup for the first time in 21 years.
His consistency on the playing field and professionalism off it eventually led to him being selected as captain for the Griquas Super Rugby Unlocked team and 2020 Currie Cup competitions.
Although Griquas endured a testing season, failing to win a game in the Unlocked and Currie Cup competitions, Burger performances were always a massive positive.
It is his outstanding form that saw him being head-hunted by the Bulls.
“Zak has had a phenomenal last few months in Kimberley and we’re keen to add his ability to the collective depth at Loftus,” White said.
“He has consistently performed for the Peacock Blues and his acquisition is exactly the type of player we want to attract to Loftus.”
Griquas coach Scott Mathie said his departure was “bittersweet”.
“Obviously having a player of Zak’s calibre leave us is not ideal, but we the Griquas pride ourselves in giving players opportunities when they present themselves,” Mathie said.
“We believe Zak has the talent and right mindset to become a Springbok in the near future.
“His leadership qualities will also be missed, and he is a great man to have in any rugby setup and culture.
“He will definitely be missed by his teammates and the rest of the management, but we really do wish him all the best. He deserves everything good that comes his way.”
* Meanwhile Stefan Ungerer, who recently signed with the Kimberley outfit, will return to Durban to make his Griquas debut in Sunday’s Preparation fixture against the Sharks.
Ungerer, 27, played in 37 games for the Sharks between 2013 and 2016. In 2017 he moved to Port Elizabeth and played a handful of games for the Southern Kings, before joining the Pumas in Nelspruit – where he played 26 games, before returning to the Kings.
He finally found a contract in Kimberley, after the Kings were liquidated in last year.
Griquas will be captained by veteran flyhalf George Whitehead in Durban. Whitehead, 31, has played more than 150 first-class games – including for Cheetahs, Kings, Griffons, Cheetahs and Stormers.
Griquas: 15 James Verity-Amm, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Siba Qoma, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli.
Replacements – from: 16 Hendrick Luus, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Tijde Visser, 19 Ewan Coetzee, 20 Jo-Hanko de Villiers, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Ederies Arendse, 24 Bandisa Ndlovu, 25 Carl Els, 26 Berton Klaasen.
Date: Sunday, February 28
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 17.15 (15.15 GMT)
Referee: AM Jacobs
Assistant referees: Paul Mente, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Marius Jonker