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Marco van Staden names his new club 67 days after exiting Leicester

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Kieran Riley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Springboks back-rower Marco van Staden has named his new club 67 days after it was confirmed by Leicester that they had agreed on terms to release him early from his contract in England. The 27-year-old last featured for the Tigers off the bench in their Gallagher Premiership win at Bristol nine months ago on December 26.

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It was after appearing for the Springboks in the 2021 Rugby Championship that van Staden arrived in Europe to link up with Leicester from Jake White’s Bulls but he was limited to just eight appearances due to an injury, believed to be a concussion.

Leicester announced on July 1 that they had finalised a deal to enable van Staden to leave the club and return to South Africa to continue his rehabilitation. That work has now been completed and the forward was unveiled on Tuesday as a new Bulls signing ahead of the start of the 2022/23 URC season.

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A club statement read: “The Vodacom Bulls have acquired the services of loose forward Marco van Staden, who will make a much-anticipated return to Loftus Versfeld. The spectacular openside flanker is the latest player to join the Bulls ahead of the 2022/23 season, signing a two-year contract that will see the 27-year-old remain at Loftus Versfeld until the end of June 2024.

“‘Eskom’, as he is affectionately known (for putting a few lights out over his career), spent his junior years at the Bulls before graduating to the senior team in 2017. In 2021 he signed with English Premiership side, Leicester Tigers.

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“His sensational performances, intense work rate and physicality on the field saw him earn a national call-up to the Springboks and he subsequently earned no less than nine international appearances in the green and gold jersey. Van Staden joins the Bulls on the back of recent signings that include S’bu Nkosi, Mihlali Mosi, Phumzile Maqondwana, Wandisile Simelane and Chris Smit.”

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Bulls director of White said: “We are ecstatic to welcome Marco back to Loftus Versfeld. We were gutted to see him go a year ago, but we are pleased to have been able to lure him back ahead of the upcoming season.

“Marco is a phenomenal player who has proven himself over the years. We know what he can bring to the team on and off the field. We are looking forward to him contributing to our cause in a busy 2022/23 season where his experience and talent will prove invaluable.”

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