Racing after Bulls' Bok

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 14:08
Large juandre kruger looks Large francois louw   juandre kru Large juandre kruger arms out Large johannvangraanjuandrekruger Large juandre kruger bulls charge Large juandre kruger bulls direct

Struggling French outfit Racing Métro is chasing the signature of the Bulls' Springbok lock Juandré Kruger.

Struggling French outfit Racing Métro is chasing the signature of the Bulls' Springbok lock Juandré Kruger.

French media reports suggested Racing coach Gonzalo Quesada is attempting to "reinforce" his resources by luring the 27-year-old Kruger to Paris.

Barend van Graan, CEO of the Blue Bulls Company, confirmed to this website that he is "aware" of interest in Kruger from abroad, but added that nothing is finalised yet.

"It is difficult to comment, since I am not aware that anything has been finalised," Van Graan told this website in an interview.

"I am aware that he has been talking to other clubs [abroad] in regards to his future and  I am also aware that there are clubs interested in him.

"However, I have not heard of anything that has been finalised," the Bulls boss added.

Racing, who earlier this year lost the services of World Cup-winning Bok centre Francois Steyn to the Durban-based Sharks, have already secured the services of Bok tighthead Brian Mujati from Northampton Saints for next season.

Mujati, 28, who was sought by Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, but found his return blocked by government, said he is eager for a new challenge and has decided not to take the option of a third year on his Saints contract.

The Zimbabwean-born Mujati has 12 caps for the Springboks after making his debut on June 7, 2008 against Wales in Bloemfontein.

Securing the services of Kruger will be a major coup for the French outfit, who have won just five of their 12 games in this season's Top 14 competition and are sitting in a lowly ninth position.

The Bulls lock started in eight of South Africa's 12 Tests this year, after making his debut against England at Kingspark in Durban in June.

He has firmly established himself in the Bok squad, especially in the absence of the Stormers' injury-prone veteran Andries Bekker.

Should he head to France next year he will join a host of high-profile South Africans in the French Top 14 and European competitions - with Cheetahs second row forward Carl Wegner the most recent to have moved abroad, having signed an 18-month contract with Stade Français.

Other Boks in France include lock Bakkies Botha (Toulon), loose forward Joe van Niekerk (Toulon) and prop Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse).

Kruger, who was named the Bulls' Super Rugby forward of the Year for 2012,  is widely regarded as one of the best second row forwards in South Africa. He started his career off at Western Province, representing them in the 2007 Vodacom Cup.

From there he moved to Blue Bulls, competing for them in the 2008 Vodacom Cup. He also featured for the Blue Bulls in the 2008 Currie Cup, at times standing in for Bok legends Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha.

Kruger then made the move to Northampton Saints in 2009 and had a successful two-season stint - in which Saints won the European Challenge Cup and then got promoted to the European Cup and won the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

He rejoined the Bulls at the end of 2010.

By Jan de Koning

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