Union Sports Group player, De Kock Steenkamp will be jetting off to Wales at the end of September to play for Ospreys.We can confirm that the club has signed him on a 3 year deal that could potentially allow him to play for Wales after a 3 year residency period.
Each region can have up to eight overseas players, but two must be “time-serving” for international duty.
Ospreys hope Steenkamp’s arrival will help mitigate the departures to Bristol of Ian Evans and Ryan Jones.
Steenkamp said: “Looking around the place and talking to people there really made me excited about signing.Hopefully I’ll be able to link up with the squad soon and play a part in helping to make sure the Ospreys remain the best side in Wales as well as one of the best in Europe.”
“The Ospreys are a team with a short but proud history having won the PRO12 four times and talking to the coaches there is an exciting transition going on at the moment that will see them come through the next few seasons stronger than ever.I want to be a part of that.”
Andrew Millward, Rugby General Manager at the Ospreys, commented: “This is a significant signing for the region, one that we’ve been working on for quite some time.
“We’ve met with De Kock, spoken to him at great length over a period of time and worked hard to get this deal over the line. He has been to Wales to look around the region and get a feel for what we have to offer and undertake his medical, and he is as excited to be moving to the Ospreys as we are to welcome him. He’s a natural leader, a combative character, and will be a real asset to the Ospreys. He is a typical South African second row, physical, tough and a natural competitor, who will add to the options available to us in his position. As well as competing for a starting spot he will provide cover for Alun Wyn Jones when he is unavailable and, importantly for us, his presence here all year round will allow us to use his experience to help the ongoing development of the outstanding batch of young locks we have here in the region.”
“The likes of Rhodri Hughes, Adam Beard, Rory Thornton and Matthew Dodd will all learn from him. We have worked hard to put ourselves in a position where there are some real prospects coming through the development pathway, but their best interests won’t be served by throwing them all in at the deep end before they are ready. Having hard-nosed experience like De Kock around the environment will benefit them and allow them to reach their full potential at the Ospreys.”
Steenkamp becomes the ninth new senior signing for the Ospreys this summer while a further 16 current Ospreys have signed new deals during 2014, with a host of promising youngsters also signing up on development contracts. Another union Sports Group player, lock – Rynier Bernardo joined Ospreys in April after British and Irish Lion Ian Evans signed what turned out to be an aborted deal with Toulon. Rynier is relishing his time at the Welsh club. He also signed a 3 year deal and is their other “time serving player”.
We wish the guys all the best for what is without a doubt a very exciting new chapter in their careers and lives.