The Emirates Lions confirmed the signing of South African centre Burger Odendaal from fellow Super Rugby side the Vodacom Bulls.
Odendaal’s departure comes in the midst of an overhaul of the Vodacom Bulls squad by Director of Rugby Jake White, who has overseen a shake-up since his appointment in March.
Odendaal, who was also the Bulls captain, made more than 50 appearances for the Pretoria-based franchise in both Super Rugby and the Currie Cup since his professional debut in 2012.
Odendaal was voted the Blue Bulls Player of the Year in 2017 and was named captain of the Bulls for the 2020 season.
Odendaal, in his farewell message, said that it was not an easy decision to leave the Bulls and thanked everyone who rallied behind him during his time at Loftus Versfeld.
“It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the Bulls family. It was an honour to call Loftus home for the last nine years and I want to thank everyone who had an influence or part to play in my journey. I will cherish the good memories.”
White, meanwhile, praised Odendaal’s contributions to the team and wished him well in his new journey with the Lions.
“Burger has poured a lot of himself into the Bulls family over many years and for that we are eternally grateful. He is a great guy who has had an impact on many players at Loftus‚ and I have no doubt that he will do really well at the Lions.”
Johannesburg, where the Lions are based, will be a familiar place for the 27-year-old who played his youth rugby at the Lions.