Lood commits to Bulls, Boks
Johannesburg - In a major coup for local rugby bosses, Springbok and Vodacom Bulls lock Lood de Jager has renewed his contract and will be available for both the Bulls and Springboks until after the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
According to the SuperSport website, De Jager, a key member of the Springbok pack who rose to prominence before and during the Rugby World Cup, was in the sights of several European clubs after he signed a one-year deal to move to the Bulls at the end of 2016.
But Supersport.com can now reveal the big lock signed his renewal on Friday and will continue to represent both teams for the foreseeable future.
De Jager’s deal is similar to the one he signed at the end of 2016, and will be paid partly by the Springboks and partly by the Bulls, and will give him the opportunity to grow into the role at the Pretoria union over the next few seasons.
De Jager said he was hoping to “build something special” at Loftus Versfeld and had enjoyed his time at the rugby union thus far.
“I think we have something great here at the Bulls with a great young team, and hopefully we can build something special in the next couple of years,” De Jager told Supersport.com.
“Ja, and I want to continue to play for the Springboks. That’s a big passion of mine so ja, I’d love to continue to contribute to the Bulls and the Springboks for the next couple of years.”
The lock also confirmed he had offers from Europe, but despite media speculation that he was being wooed to Brendan Venter’s London Irish side, De Jager said he knew nothing of that offer.
“My intentions were never to leave. Initially I only signed for a year because that was the duration of my Springbok contract. Now with the new extension at the Springboks and the Bulls I’m really looking forward to the coming years.”
Vodacom Bulls High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg confirmed that De Jager had signed when approached by Supersport.com and said the Bulls were delighted at De Jager’s decision to commit.
“We’re overjoyed that Lood has decided to extend his contract with us and the Springboks,” Janse van Rensburg said. “It shows you that there are still players who choose South Africa and their passion for the Springboks over the big money offers from overseas.
“We want to thank SA Rugby for all their assistance in this matter and the professionalism they showed in dealing with Lood’s contract. Lood is a senior player in our ranks and we believe he will continue to play a major role in the future success of both the Vodacom Bulls and the Springboks.”
De Jager is expected to be in the Springbok group for the three tests against France in June and will line up this weekend for the Bulls against the unbeaten Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.