South African Super Rugby outfit Lions have continued their offseason recruitment with the signing of two more players, utility back EW Viljoen from Leicester and Bulls hooker Jaco Visagie.

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Viljoen had gone to England hoping to make a lasting impression during the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season. However, in a campaign that saw the East Midlands club struggle for better match results and finances, the 25-year-old made just four appearances before the season was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The South African had made 28 appearances during three years at the Stormers before his switch to England and he will now hope his new Super Rugby club can help him realise the potential that went unseen in the Premiership. He is still in England awaiting flight clearance to take him to Johannesburg. 

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It’s believed Jake White’s Bulls were initially interested in Viljoen but he has now pitched up at the Lions who are also welcoming Bulls hooker Visagie for next season. “It’s been an amazing journey, to say the least, filled with highs and lows, and I’m sincerely grateful for the opportunities that I have been granted at Loftus,” said Visagie.

“I’d like to thank my teammates, the management, the staff and everybody else that’s contributed to my career thus far. I’m excited about the next step and look forward to the journey ahead.”

White added: “Jaco has been a loyal servant and warrior for the Bulls for ten years, and has given his best in that time. I wish him well as he embarks on this new chapter in his rugby career at the  Lions.”

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Visagie’s signing was confirmed just a couple of days after Bulls captain Burger Odendaal also opted to join the Johannesburg-based franchise.

“It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the Bulls family‚” said Odendaal. “It was an honour to call Loftus home for the last nine years and I want to thank everyone who had an influence or part to play in my journey. I will cherish the good memories.”

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