Leinster sign Springbok full-back Zane Kirchner from Bulls

Zane Kirchner
Zane Kirchner

Leinster have signed Springbok full-back Zane Kirchner on a two-year deal.

The 28-year-old will join the Irish province from Super Rugby side the Bulls, who spent several months trying to retain his services.

The date of Kirchner's arrival has yet to be confirmed as the South African is under contract with the Pretoria-based outfit until the end of October.

Leinster are understood to be keen to secure an early release for Kirchner in time for their pre-season preparations.

The full-back has been capped 24 times by the Springboks and was part of the South Africa side which faced the British and Irish Lions in 2009.

With Isa Nacewa set to leave the Irish province at the end of the season, it seems that Kirchner is the man the Leinster hierarchy have chosen to step into the Fijian's boots.

The Bulls tabled a new offer for Kirchner's services, but conceded they could not compete with the money on offer.

Bulls' high performance manager Xander Janse van Rensburg said: "We have been in talks with Zane and his agent since November and although it is very disappointing to lose his services, we wish him well with the new phase in his career.

"From our side, with coach Frans Ludeke very involved and in regular consultation with Springbok management, we tried our best to keep the player in Pretoria, but could in the end not compete with the exchange rate and the expectations of Zane and his agent."

Leinster Joe Schmidt welcomed the imminent arrival of Zirchner.

"Zane Kirchner is a quality international player and we believe that he will add genuine value to the Leinster squad over the next few years," said Schmidt.

"He's well balanced, fast and skilful and has featured for the Springboks in their last nine internationals. At 28 he is ideally placed to contribute to team performance while also passing on his experience to some of our younger outside backs."

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