The Lions have confirmed four new additions to their squad this week, two of the arrivals coming from local rivals the Bulls.
Hooker Jaco Visagie has joined former Bulls' skipper Burger Odendaal in crossing the Jukskei River to join the Lions' Pride while EW Viljoen and Ruan Dreyer join the Johannesburg-based side from Leicester Tigers and Gloucester respectively.
The 28-year-old hooker Jaco Visagie has traded Pretoria for Johannesburg a having grown up in Clanwilliam where he attended Augsburg Agricultural Gymnasium. His youth career started with the Boland Cavaliers before moving to the Bulls in 2011. In 2018 he made the move to Gloucester where had seven appearances. More recently he was the medical joker at French Top 14 title-holders Toulouse on a short-term before returning to the Bulls.
In a homecoming of sorts, Burger Odendaal, is back home where he started his rugby career at Monument High School. He played his high school rugby on the West Rand and represented the Lions at the various Youth Weeks (Grant Khomo and Craven Week). He joined the Bulls shortly after school and had become an integral part of their side, even captaining them as early as this year.
29-year-old tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer started four Tests for the Springboks under Allister Coetzee in 2017 after a fine Super Rugby campaign. He went out to Gloucester along with Johan Ackermann but has since returned to Johannesburg.
Back EW Viljoen returns home to South Africa and will settle in Johannesburg with the Lions after a stint with the Leicester Tigers since 2019. The experienced outside centre grew up in Bloemfontein where his rugby career started. From there he moved to Western Province in 2014 where he made 28 appearances for the Stormers since his debut in 2017. He also represented South Africa at Under 20 level at the Junior World Championship in which he played a starring role on the way to South Africa’s third-place finish in the tournament. He is a versatile back that can do duty at fullback and wing as well.