Lood de Jager in talks with URC side - report
While his exit from Sale Sharks has been viewed as a done deal for some time, the exact destination of Springboks’ lock Lood de Jager has proved frustratingly elusive in recent months.
Sale are unable to fit the giant forward in under their £5million salary cap limit – and with the Premiership’s two marquee signings shrinking to one after current contracts elapse, De Jager appears to be a luxury Alex Sanderson can no longer afford.
The Alberton-born forward has also had a limited impact on the pitch for the Sharks, with injury restricting him to just 19 appearances over the last two seasons. It’s not been an ideal return on what is one of club’s biggest stars.
Fellow Bok teammate Eben Etzebeth’s signing with the Sharks offered a bit of a clue this week, as it officially ruled out the Durban-based side as a likely location for De Jager, while also raising a question as to why Etzebeth wasn’t returning to his alma mater in Cape Town.
Now reports from within South Africa have confirmed that De Jager is in fact in talks with fellow URC newcomers, the Stormers.
The South African report that the 29-year-old is in the early stages of talks with John Dobson’s Stormers – but they are happening.
A year ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France, should De Jager move it would put two of South Africa’s three first-line secondrows back in the country, leaving RG Snyman to continue his rehabilitation with Munster, where he has extended his current deal to 2024.
De Jager started his career with the Toyota Cheetahs, bursting onto the scene with a remarkable first season. The 6ft 9in powerhouse went on to make 40 Super Rugby appearances for the Bloemfontein-based franchise and was rewarded for his outstanding form in 2015, winning the prestigious SA Rugby Player of the Year award.
The 125kg second-row was quickly earmarked for bigger things by the Springbok hierarchy and was duly selected for the national side in May 2014, at just 21. The experienced line-out operator has now won a total of 53 caps for South Africa.
In 2016 De Jager made the switch from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, signing for the Bulls ahead of the 2017 Super Rugby Season. He has gone on to make 22 appearances for the Bulls and was awarded the captaincy ahead of the 2019 season, before moving to Manchester later that year.
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