Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck bolster big-spending Bulls
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JOHANNESBURG - The Bulls continue to strengthen their squad ahead of the United Rugby Championship (URC) later this year after securing the signatures of another two Springboks, the union announced on Wednesday on their social media platforms.
Former Lions players Lionel Mapoe and Ruan Combrinck have both joined the Pretoria-based outfit, joining a powerful array of recent signings that include Boks Marcell Coetzee and Johan Goosen, former Lions stalwart Harold Vorster and Jacques du Plessis, who rejoins the team from a highly successful stint at Montpellier.
Mapoe returns to Loftus Versveld after a short loan in 2013 - the season the Lions were relegated from SuperRugby - and the 32-year-old centre is expected to bring a wealth of experience to the midfield in the coming months.
Known for his "comb celebration" when scoring a try, Mapoe is a veteran of 14 Test matches, is a former Baby Bok and SA 'A' player and amassed over 100 SuperRugby caps during his playing days at the Lions.
In 2019 he signed for Stade Francais, but played only a limited number of matches for the French Top 14 club.
Combrinck, meanwhile, will make his debut for the Bulls when he eventually puts on the colours of the union, and also signs on from the Pink Army.
Previously, the 31-year-old wing had made 72 appearances for the Lions, and played four Test matches for the Boks - including a memorable debut for the national side against Ireland in June 2016, in which he powered his way to the winning try and the Man of the Match award.
Moreover, Mapoe, Combrinck and Voster formed part of the formidable Lions side that played in three consecutive Super Rugby finals between 2016-2018, and which won the Currie Cup in 2015 with an undefeated 10-match run.
The Bulls play the British and Irish Lions next week Saturday, and will follow that match up with a Currie Cup encounter against the Griquas in Kimberley on July 17. The URC is expected to kick-off in September.