LONDON - English Premiership side Bath have signed South African prop Jacques van Rooyen from Super Rugby finalists the Lions.
The 31-year-old started the Super Rugby final in Christchurch on Saturday, when the Lions suffered a 37-18 defeat to the Crusaders. Van Rooyen has made more than 60 appearances for the Johannesburg-based Lions, making his debut four years ago.
“I’m really looking forward to testing myself in the Northern Hemisphere and playing for a Club with a great deal of ambition going into the new season," Van Rooyen told the Bath website.
Van Rooyen becomes the fourth player to depart the Lions for a team in the UK after Saturday's loss to the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final. The departures of Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Ruan Dreyer and Rohan Janse van Rensburg were already announced earlier this season.
He will enhance Bath's front-row strength and competition for the loosehead position after they lost England hopeful Beno Obano to an injury earlier this year that could see him miss the entire 2018-19 campaign.
“We are really pleased to bring someone in of Jacques’ calibre in time for the new season. He’s proven himself in Super Rugby and will bring a great deal to the squad both at the set piece and with ball in hand," Bath director or rugby, Todd Blackadder, said.
“We have great strength in depth at loosehead with Jacques, Lucas (Noguera) and Nathan (Catt) all competing for the number one shirt after losing Beno (Obano) to injury in May. Jacques can also play at tighthead, which adds another option over the course of a busy season of domestic and European rugby.”