Rugby Union

De Kock Steenkamp joins Pro12 club Ospreys

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Welsh regional club Ospreys have snapped up De Kock Steenkamp from South African side Stormers, BBC Sport reports.

The 27-year-old Lock has signed a three-year deal under the residency policy, means he will be available to play for Wales by the time his contract ends.

Each region is only allowed a maximum of eight overseas players in their team, but two must be on a time-serving contract for international duty.

SA born and bred

Steenkamp has spent the past four years at Super Rugby side Stormers, where he helped the Cape Town-based club to the top of the table in 2012, only to lose to Sharks in the semi-finals.

He has also been turning out for another capital club, Western Province, in the Currie Cup, South Africa’s domestic league, since 2009.

In the same year he topped the table with the Stormers, Steenkamp went better and helped Province to become champions.

The lock had spent three years in the youth academy at the Currie Cup side, before playing for Stellenbosch University side Maties.

Foreign challenge

While it will be the first time he has played outside of the capital, let alone South Africa, Steenkamp is enthused for the new challenge, and already has high expectations.
In a statement released by Ospreys, he said: “Looking around the place and talking to people there really made me excited about signing.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to link up with squad soon and play a part in helping to make sure the Ospreys remain the best side in Wales as well as one of the best in Europe.”

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Steenkamp will join his fellow countryman, Rynier Bernardo, who joined on a time-serving deal as well, back in April.

Bernardo has also uncapped by his national team, but at 22, still has time to make an impact.

Yet, like Steenkamp, the former Southern Kings star could be playing in the red of Wales, once he has completed the required three years residency in the country.

Replacements

These acquisitions have been brought into replace Welsh internationals Ian Evans and Ryan Jones, who both joined Bristol in the RFU Championship, second tier of English rugby.

Evans was due to sign for Toulon in the French Top 14 league, before the move collapsed.

The Swansea-based club, who share the Liberty Stadium with the city’s Premier League football team, kicked off the new Pro12 season, with a 44-13 win over Italian side Treviso.
Steenkamp could make a sensational debut against fellow Welsh side Newport Gwent Dragons this Friday.

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