Kings in massive coup as Highlanders prop returns home
Cape Town - The Southern Kings have landed a big fish with the news of Vodacom Super Rugby winning prop Ross Geldenhuys committing to the franchise for 2017.
Furthermore, the Southern Kings confirmed that Border stars Masixole Banda (flyhalf), the recently named Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year, and Makazole Mapimpi (wing), as well as former Junior Springbok prop Dayan van der Westhuizen, from the Blue Bulls, have joined them on loan.
The 33-year-old Geldenhuys brings with him a wealth of experience, especially from playing in New Zealand for the last three seasons. He joins seasoned campaigners Schalk van der Merwe, Schalk Ferreira and Chris Heiberg, as well as Van der Westhuizen, as front-row options to coach Deon Davids.
Geldenhuys got his first taste of Vodacom Super Rugby for the Lions in 2008 and featured in 21 matches for the Highlanders in the last two years, which included an appearance from the bench in the 2015 Final.
The Grahamstown-schooled prop was in sterling form for Tasman, losing finalists in New Zealand’s Mitre10 Cup this year and was rated as one of the best tighthead props of the tournament.
“I’m enjoying my rugby at the moment and I hope to cement a starting berth at the Southern Kings, as I’ve really enjoyed playing in the run-on team for Tasman this year,” said Geldenhuys.
“I’ve worked extremely hard in the last couple of years and I’m probably fitter and stronger than ever before. I know I still have a number of seasons left in me and I’m excited to be returning to South Africa.”
Davids said: “Ross has been around the block in recent years and will bring with him the kind of experience that is invaluable at Vodacom Super Rugby level, especially at tighthead, which is one of the most specialized positions in the team.
“I’m very excited to welcome him and Dayan, one of the best young tighthead props in the country, to the squad and I’m excited that we have some good depth at prop for next year.
“It will also be great to have Banda and Mapimpi on loan from Border next season. Banda was brilliant for Border this year and deserved his Currie Cup First Division award, while Mapimpi knows his way to the try-line and will push the other wings in the squad very hard.”
Apart from this quintet of props and two Border backs, other players who will be available to Davids next season include Wandile Mjekevu (wing), Neil Maritz (wing), Irné Herbst (lock), Wandile Putuma (lock), Garrick Mattheus (flyhalf), Yaw Penxe (wing), Sintu Manjezi (flank / lock), Tango Balekile (hooker), Lionel Cronje (flyhalf), Ntabeni Dukisa (outside back), Mzwanele Zito (lock / flank), Alshaun Bock (wing) and Poerie van Rooyen (scrumhalf).