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'Impressed by his aspirations': Harlequins sign SA lock Herbst

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Harlequins have signed South African second row Irne Herbst from Benetton for the 2022/23 season. According to the Londoners, the 29-year-old forward, who has spent the past five years in Italy, emerged as a clear talent during his time in the age-grade programmes in South Africa, appearing for the South Africa Schools and U20 sides during his time with the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.

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The 6ft 6in, 121kg lock kicked off his senior rugby career with the Bulls in the Provincial Cup and Currie Cup competitions before graduating to Super Rugby with the Southern Kings in 2017 prior to moving to Italy to join Benetton.

Playing in both the European Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions Cup before helping Benetton lift the PRO14 Rainbow Cup in 2021, the physical tight five forward is well versed in the highest levels of northern hemisphere club rugby.

Harlequins head coach Tabai Matson said: “We’re delighted to announce that Irne will be joining us next season. We have been looking to secure the signing of a physically dominant second row and Irne is someone we believe will fit in well within our system.

“Irne has proven during his time throughout the age grades in South Africa and within the highest level of club rugby that he is a relentless, hard-working lock that can offer a point of difference for us around the park and at the set-piece.

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“When we first spoke with Irne, we were impressed by his aspirations in the game; his desire to keep growing and the challenge the English Premiership will present him. We’re excited to welcome him into the Harlequins fold this summer.”

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Herbst added: “I’m delighted to have signed with Harlequins. To join such a prestigious team within English rugby and the current Premiership champions is a fantastic opportunity. Harlequins play one of the most famous brands of rugby in the world at the moment and an attacking style that’s so clearly connected to the team’s history and DNA.

“I’m looking forward to putting in the work and playing my part in the team. This is a team that is very clear on how they want to play and how they want to operate and I’m eager to get stuck in next season.”

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