Former Bulls centre Burger Odendaal bolsters Lions' backline
JOHANNESBURG - Former Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, has swapped Pretoria for Joburg and will turn out for the Lions when rugby action gets underway again in South Africa.
Odendaal, who is comfortable in both the No 12 and 13 jerseys, grew up and learnt his rugby in Joburg so this is a “home-coming” of sorts for the 27-year-old, who matriculated at Monument High School in Krugersdorp. He also represented the Lions at the respective youth weeks at U-16 and U-18 level.
Odendaal joined the Bulls in 2012 and besides running out for the Super Rugby side on 56 occasions from 2015, he also featured for Tuks in the Varsity Cup and played in 50 Currie Cup games. He also turned out for the Japanese club, the Kubota Spears, last season.
Odendaal’s arrival at Ellis Park follows hot on the heels of former Lions tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer also returning “home” after he signed for the Joburg side after spending two years at Gloucester in England. Before moving to the northern hemisphere to play his rugby, Dreyer featured for the Lions between 2012 and 2018 and played in 80 Super Rugby games, and became the franchise’s first choice No 3.
Two other former Lions players joined their former team at the start of the year, namely Jaco Kriel, who returned from Gloucester, and Willem Alberts, who rejoined from Stade Francais. Former World Cup winning Bok tighthead prop from 2007, Jannie du Plessis, also joined the Lions at the start of 2020.
The Joburg side also recently signed promising former Cheetahs wing, Rabz Maxwane, who has extensive experience of playing in the Pro14.
Odendaal will compete with the likes of Dan Kriel (also a former Bulls player), Wandisile Simelane, Duncan Matthews and Manny Rass for a place in the Lions starting team.