Kruger turns his back on SA rugby, joins French club

2012-12-19 00:00

ONE of Heyneke Meyer’s new guard, Springbok and Blue Bulls lock Juandré Kruger, has turned his back on South African rugby and joined French club Racing Metro.

The 27-year-old Kruger made his Springbok debut this year and played in eight Tests in Meyer’s revamped and impressive pack of forwards.

But the Bulls yesterday confirmed that Kruger had declined to renew his contract in favour of a lucrative offer for Frans Steyn’s old club in France.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke had said he expected Kruger to see out the Super Rugby season with the Bulls before leaving Pretoria. But reports from Paris have confirmed that the lock has signed from the end of June and he will miss the business end of the Super Rugby competition in July and August.

While Meyer has shown that he is prepared to involve overseas-based players in his national squad, his preference is to select homegrown talent and Kruger is certainly gambling with his Springbok future.

Ludeke said he was disaapointed to lose Kruger, but could understand the reasons for his move. “It is always good to know and to hear that your players are wanted all over the world, but unfortunately it is not always possible to hold on to them once those offers start coming in,” Ludeke said.

“With the exchange rate as it is at the moment, it is very difficult to remain on level terms with those clubs when it comes to contract talks.

“We were very keen to extend his contract, but financially it was just not possible. We are very happy for Juandré, as it is a great offer he received, but that left us in an unfortunate position that we could not match it.”

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