Cape Town - Talented South African duo, scrumhalf Piet van Zyl and back-rower Arno Botha, have signed for London Irish from Super Rugby side the Bulls.
Representing the Springboks on three occasions, Van Zyl, 28, joins former team-mate Botha at London Irish. A bullet pass from the breakdown coupled with an excellent kicking game and a cutting edge in attack, Van Zyl is a solid acquisition for Irish as fellow number nine Brendan McKibbin continues his recovery from injury.
Bringing Super Rugby experience to the table having made 76 appearances in the competition for both the Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls, Van Zyl is ready for the fight as the Exiles strive to steer themselves to safety.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about London Irish and I’m excited at the prospect of playing for the club in the Aviva Premiership,” said Van Zyl, who made his debut for the Springboks during a 30-17 victory over Scotland in 2013.
“I wanted a fresh challenge and the opportunity to make the move to the northern hemisphere was too good to turn down.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to help the club move up the Aviva Premiership table and I can’t wait to pull on the famous green jersey.”
Meanwhile Botha, capped twice by the Springboks, can operate as either a flanker or number eight and has teamed up with fellow countrymen Franco van der Merwe, Petrus du Plessis, Sebastian De Chaves and Richard Palframan at the club’s Hazelwood training complex today.
The explosive ball carrier made 82 appearances for the Blue Bulls, skippering the side to the Currie Cup Final in 2016 to underline his credentials as an effective leader.
“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to join London Irish, a club that is steeped in history and tradition,” said Botha.
“I’ve always wanted to test myself in northern hemisphere rugby and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of helping the club secure its Aviva Premiership status.”