South African rugby side the Emirates Lions confirmed that prop Ruan Dreyer will rejoin the franchise following a stint at English Premiership Rugby club Gloucester.
The 29-year-old had left the Johannesburg-based outfit in 2018 but his spell in England was plagued by injury which limited his game time. Last month, Gloucester announced that Dreyer will be leaving the club.
Dreyer posted a video on Twitter in which he said he and his family were excited to be back in Johannesburg with the Lions.
“We are very excited to return back home, just to make you guys proud again and, hopefully, to fill up Emirates Airline Park quite soon again. Cheers, everyone. Hope you have a good day,” he said.
Dreyer’s arrival is expected to spark competition with veteran former Springbok Jannie du Plessis and 23-year-old prop Carlü Sadie.
Former Lions head coach Swys de Bruin told News24 that Dreyer’s signing was a positive for the team because of his versatility in addition to being a mentor to Sadie.
“Ruan is in his prime as a prop. There’s enough at stake for him to really want to make the tighthead position his own again. I’d think he still has something to prove after his taste of international rugby. That’s the type of competition that could really prove valuable for Carlu.”
Springbok flanker, Jaco Kriel, who also had a stint with Gloucester, welcomed Dreyer and praised his qualities noting that he was a great addition to the squad.
“It is great news to hear that a player of @dreyer_ruan‘s stature decided to come back to the Lions. He is a great team man and definitely one of the best, hardworking players/mentor out there!” Kriel tweeted.
Dreyer played for the Lions in both Super Rugby and the Currie Cup, South Africa’s premier domestic rugby competition, between 2010 and 2017. He has also played four tests for the Springboks.
Dreyer’s signing is welcome news to fans of the Lions who had witnessed the team deliver below-par performances this season and suffer an exodus of players during South Africa’s ‘transfer window’.