Edinburgh sign South African Ruan Steenkamp as World Cup cover

Capital outfit have been left short in the back-row while Hamish Watson, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie and Viliame Mata are away in Japan

Ruan Steenkamp
Ruan Steenkamp has joined Edinburgh on a short-term deal as World Cup cover

SOUTH AFRICAN back-row Ruan Steenkamp has joined Edinburgh on a short-term deal from Super Rugby side Vodacom Bulls. The former South Africa Under-20s captain joins the club subject to a medical and will provide cover during the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Three Edinburgh back-row players – Hamish Watson, John Barclay and Jamie Ritchie – were named in Gregor Townsend’s World Cup squad yesterday [Tuesday] and with Viliame Mata set to represent Fiji, they have been left bare in this area

Steenkamp – who is 26-year-old and has played both flanker and No8 in Super Rugby – was  heavily involved as the Bulls reached the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 2013 this season.

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“I’m really honoured to join Edinburgh Rugby and I can’t wait to link up with my new teammates,” he said. “I know a lot about the club having spoken to the South African boys in Scotland and I’m hugely privileged to have been given the chance to represent such a historic side.

“This will be my first time travelling to Scotland, so I can’t wait to make the most of this opportunity while sampling a new and exciting rugby culture.”

Head coach Richard Cockerill reckons the new recruit can have a big impact at the club. “Ruan is a hard running and abrasive back-row player that plays with a real edge,” he said. “He has all the qualities that you look for in a flanker while his physicality brings a different dynamic to our pack. We’re really happy to have him on board.

“We will obviously be short handed in the back-row in the early stages of the season due to World Cup selection, so to have a player of Ruan’s quality adding depth to the squad is a real coup for the club.

“He has shown in both Super Rugby and the Currie Cup that he has the ability to turn a match in your favour – whether that is through his carrying or tenacity in defence – so we can’t wait to see what he’ll bring to this club.”

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About David Barnes 3817 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.