CAPE TOWN - A number of top Springbok front-rowers play their club rugby in France, and now another Test prop will be leaving the South African scene to move to Europe.
Sharks tighthead Lourens Adriaanse, who has played six Tests for the Springboks, will be joining Pau from the 2017/18 season onwards.
The French club announced on Tuesday evening that Adriaanse has signed a three-year deal with the Basque outfit based in the south-western part of the country, around 85km from the Spanish border.
Adriaanse, who hails from the Western Cape and attended Paarl Gym, will have fond memories of France, having made his Springbok Test debut against the Tricolores in November 2013 in Paris.
His strong scrummaging ability has seen him become a stalwart for the Sharks since 2014, but during the current Super Rugby season, he has had to take a back seat to Coenie Oosthuizen – who has been more consistent in the set-pieces in addition to his dynamic ball-carrying in the No 3 jersey.
Adriaanse has also somewhat unfairly been on the fringes of the Springbok squad, with more mobile tightheads such as Frans Malherbe and Vincent Koch preferred by Allister Coetzee.
Adriaanse has received limited game time in 2017, and has now effectively put his Springbok ambitions on hold until at least 2019, as a new ruling by SA Rugby states that only overseas-based South Africans who have 30 or more Test caps will be eligible for selection – that is until the 2019 season, when any player may be chosen as it is a World Cup year.
South African props are popular recruits for French clubs, with the likes of Gurthro Steenkamp, Jannie du Plessis, Steven Kitshoff, BJ Botha, Brian Mujati, Pat Cilliers, JC Janse van Rensburg, Gert Muller and Kevin Buys having all plied their trade there in recent seasons.