Home Sport Bulls sign powerhouse Henry Immelman for fullback berth

Bulls sign powerhouse Henry Immelman for fullback berth

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The Bulls have announced the signing of experienced fullback Henry Immelman from Scottish side Edinburgh.

The Bulls have announced the signing of fullback Henry Immelman from Edinburgh. Picture: Shaun Roy, BackpagePix

Cape Town — The Bulls have made a shrewd piece of recruitment in signing experienced fullback Henry Immelman from Scottish side Edinburgh.

The Pretoria side announced the acquisition on Tuesday, before a 31-man squad left for France to take on Lyon in the Champions Cup on Friday night.

The former Grey College and Cheetahs junior, who hails from Upington, has signed a three-year contract and will start at Loftus Versfeld on July 1 this year.

The lanky Immelman, who stands at 1.89m and weighs around 100kg, will provide a much-needed additional option in the last line of defence across the United Rugby Championship (URC) and Champions Cup next season.

The Bulls only really have Springbok star Kurt-Lee Arendse as a specialist fullback, and his international duties will already start ruling him out for the next two months ahead of the Rugby World Cup in France later this year.

Canan Moodie has filled in at No.15 previously, but is also in the Bok mix, and the same could apply to Johan Goosen, who is more of a flyhalf anyway.

David Kriel started his Bulls career at the back, but seems to have become more valuable at inside centre and wing in recent months.

The other player tried out at fullback in the current campaign, Wandisile Simelane, didn’t look comfortable in such a new role, and has excelled in his usual outside centre spot in the last two encounters against the Dragons and Exeter Chiefs.

Immelman worked with Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White before at French club Montpellier, and will welcome being in his home country once more.

“For me personally, joining the Bulls is a great opportunity. They are another world-class club, and I’ll be closer to my family as well,” Immelman said.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time at Edinburgh. It’s a brilliant club with an exceptional group of boys. Since day one, they welcomed me with open arms, and I’ve really started to enjoy my rugby a lot more.

“Away trips with the Edinburgh boys are probably the one thing that I’ll miss the most. I want to thank the Edinburgh fans for all the support too. I’ve been proud to represent them and this great city during the last two seasons.”

Meanwhile, veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn is back in the squad for the two-match European tour, which includes Friday’s Champions Cup match against Lyon (10pm kick-off) and next Friday’s URC game against the Scarlets in Llanelli (9.35pm kick-off).

Steyn hasn’t featured much in recent weeks, but could be a vital cog coming off the bench or even as a starter in the expected wet conditions, having spent a number of years at Stade Francais.

While White will miss the trip after his recent operation, assistant coaches Chris Rossouw and Russell Winter have picked their strongest possible squad, including the likes of Arendse and Moodie.

Bulls Tour Squad

Ruan Nortje (capt), Simphiwe Matanzima, Bismarck du Plessis, Francois Klopper, Run Vermaak, Janko Swanepoel, Marco van Staden, Cyle Brink, Embrose Papier, Johan Goosen, David Kriel, Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar, Mornay Smith, Reinhardt Ludwig, Wandisile Simelane, Dylan Smith, Nizaam Carr, Elrigh Louw, Zak Burger, Chris Smith, Stravino Jacobs, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Canan Moodie, Bernard van der Linde, Morné Steyn, Cornal Hendricks.

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