Pretoria - Former Springbok coach Jake White’s ambition at building a South African franchise in France gained traction this week as he has signed two more South African players to move to Montpellier at the end of Super Rugby.
While White won the recent European Challenge Cup with six South African players in his starting line-up, the number is set to grow as the former Bok coach looks for more local talent to bolster his ranks.
This time around it is promising Vodacom Bulls utility forward Nicholas Janse van Rensburg and veteran Tiaan Liebenberg who have signed with the club and will join them ahead of the start of the next French season.
Janse van Rensburg is particularly a loss for the Bulls, as he is part of a group of young players recruited to take the Bulls forward and joins fellow forwards Paul Willemse and Jacques du Plessis at White’s club.
The lanky blond stands at 2 metres tall and weighs in at 110kg and has spent his entire rugby career in Pretoria before deciding on the move.
Janse van Rensburg has five Super Rugby caps behind his name and 24 Currie Cup appearances but hasn’t been selected this season for the Super Rugby side, apparently because there has been some unhappiness with the way he has conducted himself in the team set-up.
While Bulls officials remain mum on the precise reasons, they did confirm that Montpellier had paid a transfer fee to release him from his contract.
Bulls High Performance manager Xander Janse van Rensburg confirmed to supersport.com that the young forward had asked to be released from his contract and the Bulls had decided to accede to his request.
“He approached us with the offer and we decided to say yes on the proviso of a transfer fee being paid. At the moment we have some excellent young locks in the Super Rugby set-up and we back them all the way,” Janse van Rensburg said.
Liebenberg’s deal also seems to be finalised after the veteran hooker made an astonishing comeback this season out of retirement to appear for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs Currie Cup side.
The former Springbok hooker, who also played for the Sharks, Griquas, Western Province, Toulon and the Cheetahs Super Rugby side, is now 34 years old and made the comeback after retiring in 2014. This appears to be the swansong of his extended career.
Montpellier currently have several South Africans on their books, including Springboks Pierre Spies, Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Francois Steyn and their countrymen Wian Liebenberg, Demetri Catrakilis, Schalk van der Merwe, Paul Willemse, Cameron Wright, Henri Immelmann and Jacques du Plessis.
Read the story on SuperSport.com.