Carstens to join Saracens

2010-04-17 00:00

THE 30-year-old Springbok prop Deon Carstens is to leave Durban next month to earn his pension with the South African-flavoured, London-based club Saracens.

Carstens, who has signed a two-year contract with Saracens, has been troubled by injury all season, and had a brief outing for the Sharks against the Waratahs last month before returning home early for knee surgery.

The loosehead, who was on the bench for the three Tests against the British Lions last year, has 81 Super Rugby caps since his debut in 2001. He has nine Test caps since his debut against Scotland in 2002.

Coach John Plumtree has genuine depth at loosehead, with Springboks John Smit and Beast Mtawarira sharing the duties, and two talented youngsters in Patric Cilliers and Wiehahn Herbst waiting their turn.

This has allowed the Sharks to release Carstens early from his contract — just as they have done for lock Johann Muller — to chase the pounds in the twilight of his career.

“It certainly will be a new challenge for me, swopping warm Durban for snow and freezing temperatures,” he said yesterday.

“I have loved being a part of the Sharks for these past 10 years. But I need to experience a new challenge and get out of my comfort zone. Luckily for me, I will be joining up with a bunch of South African players like ex-Sharks centre Bradley Barritt.”

Former Bok centre Brendan Venter is the Saracens coach, The Witness columnist Edward Griffiths is the CEO and Schalk Brits, Ernst Joubert, Neil de Kock, Derick Hougaard and Justin Melck are on the playing staff.

Venter welcomed the signing of Carstens.

“We are delighted. He is a world-class loosehead, but he is also an outgoing and infectious character — exactly the kind of person who will enhance the spirit in our squad.”

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl said he was sad to lose the prop.

“We will miss his enthusiasm, and wish him all the best in his new venture with Saracens.”

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