Cape Town - English club Harlequins have announced the signing of Springbok wing Travis Ismaiel from the Bulls.
According to the Harlequins website, the 27-year-old is a hugely powerful and dominant player who has come through the ranks at the Bulls playing for the Blue Bulls in their Under-19 and Under-21 teams before making his first class debut in 2013 against Griquas. He went on to make seven appearances in that campaign, scoring six tries. That same season he featured in the Currie Cup.
His Super Rugby debut came in 2015 against the Sharks and he went on to earn 39 Super Rugby Caps, scoring 50 points.
He scored on his international debut for South Africa in the 2018 friendly against Wales in Washington DC and prior to earning full international honours he also represented South Africa A in their two-match series against England Saxons in 2016.
Ismaiel is just one of many players to have departed the Bulls in recent weeks.
In addition to Ismaiel, the top South African side in this year's Super Rugby tournament look likely to lose all of Jesse Kriel, Jason Jenkins, RG Snyman, Duane Vermeulen (all to Japan), Handre Pollard (Montpellier), Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks), Eli Snyman (Treviso) and Hanro Liebenberg (Leicester Tigers) to overseas deals.
Harlequins Head of Rugby Paul Gustard commented: “I have been enquiring about Travis for a couple of months now since we lost Nathan Earle to a nasty injury against Saints last season.
“I was over on holiday in South Africa in the summer with my family and I took the opportunity over a couple of days to meet his agent, speak to Travis and meet some players who knew him and all the feedback I received was that he is such an impressive individual with huge coachability and some real X-Factor.
“To be capped in such a competitive position in South Africa allied to boasting a very impressive try scoring record in Super Rugby of almost 1 in 2 is great news for the club. What isn’t great news for me was I had to buy my wife a new handbag to compensate for lost holiday time!
“I have no doubt he will be a huge presence on the pitch for us with his excellent aerial skills. He is fast and is a big man who enjoys running hard.
“We will look for him to work hard to get his hands on the ball as much as we can because, like all our wings, they have magic in them, and we want them to show the league why they are so special.
“Initially he comes as injury dispensation for Nathan, but we see real potential for growth in Travis, so we have signed him on a longer contract to maximise his development. On behalf of the club we welcome Travis, his wife Zaylin and his children Connor and Kiara.”
Ismaiel added: “I am very excited to be joining a club like Quins with such a rich rugby history.
“There is a clear excitement when speaking to Gussy with regards to the culture they have at the Club and what they are looking to achieve over the next couple of seasons.
“I’m looking forward to getting to work with the boys and can’t wait to contribute to the team in any way possible. Me and my family can’t wait for this new chapter in our lives and we are looking forward to experiencing a new culture and way of living and I’m sure Quins is the right place to do that.”
?? Read now | Harlequins sign Travis Ismaiel https://t.co/j2r890IYvO— Harlequins ?? (@Harlequins) July 2, 2019