CONFIRMED: Bulls sign Champions Cup winner
NEWS: The Bulls have confirmed the signing of Premiership and Champions Cup winner Jannes Kirsten.
The multifaceted forward will join the Pretoria-based Bulls from July 1 with his initial stay pencilled in till June 2026.
Kirsten – a former South African Under-20s international – is no stranger to Loftus, having made his mark playing for the Bulls, both in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup.
The 29-year-old has the Bulls DNA, being the younger brother of one Frik Kirsten, a prop who made 81 appearances for the club between 2008 and 2014.
Since moving to England in 2019, the lock/loose forward has made a mammoth 75 appearances for his current side, the Exeter Chiefs. Forming part of the core group that would help the English club claim a historic double, winning both the Premiership and Champions Cup during the 2019/2020 season. A season where Kirsten became an instrumental figure on the field and a proven champion off it.
🚨 NEW SIGNING ALERT 🚨
Welcome BACK to the Vodacom Bulls Jannes Kirsten 🐃 A Loftus Son returns HOME 💪#TrueToTheBlue pic.twitter.com/OVsj5eZUaY
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) January 27, 2023
Blue Bulls Company Chief Executive Officer Edgar Rathbone said the news of Kirsten joining the herd is good for South African rugby and not just the Bulls.
“We know Jannes very well and understand the impact he can have,” said Rathbone.
“We appreciate that he has gone on to play in Europe, in different conditions against some of the best rugby stars in that part of the world, so the experience he returns with will be invaluable to us. He knows Pretoria very well and having him return means that he sees us as the place he can call home and so we are really glad to see him return to be united with his family.
“The introduction of South African teams in European competition has meant that now more than the years before, we are seeing a few more locally produced quality players looking to make a return because they still have the opportunity to compete against some of the best in the Northern Hemisphere whilst adding value to the game in their own backyard.
“We appreciate that he is a versatile player, who can slot in at lock and flank and that will add to our dynamic options, strengthening our rugby offering. We look forward to welcoming him in July and are confident that he will continue being the world-class player that we have seen become, wearing our stripes.”
The news of Kirsten’s upcoming move comes a week after the franchise announced the signing of Henry Immelman from Scottish side Edinburgh, on a three-year deal.