The Ospreys have announced the signing of South African lock Rynier Bernardo, with the Kings forward joining on a three-year contract.
The Ospreys have announced the signing of South African second-row Rynier Bernardo, with the big Kings forward joining on a three-year deal.
The 22-year-old is set to arrive in Wales for pre-season after putting pen-to-paper on a contract that runs until the end of the 2016/17 campaign.
Born in Pretoria, Bernardo came through the ranks at Eastern Province Kings, representing them at age-grade level before playing in both the Vodacom and Currie Cup. In 2013 he graduated to Super Rugby with the Southern Kings, playing in ten matches for the tournament newcomers.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me, personally and professionally, and I'm excited about arriving in Wales this summer,” he told the Ospreys.
“The Ospreys are a great team used to competing at the top end of the PRO12, with some great players, and I'm looking forward to being a part of a young and talented squad there.
“It's a big challenge for me, but I can't wait to get started. Hopefully I'll be able to make a big impression and help the team to success, domestically and in European competition.”
Bernardo will join Fiji centre Josh Matavesi from Worcester, Welsh international full-back Dan Evans and his Dragons team-mate, hooker Sam Parry as new faces at the region next term, with Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, delighted with the deal.
“Rynier is an exciting addition to our squad and something of a coup for the Ospreys,” he said.
“He is highly respected in his home country and comes with a strong reputation as a traditional second-row who tackles well, hits rucks, and has the all-round physical edge that you expect from a South African in that position. It's a really positive signing for us.
“As well as being impressed by what we've seen of him, we spoke to a lot of people whose opinion we value about his character, on and off the field, and what he will bring to our environment. He's a big man who thrives on the unglamorous side of the game and will do the work that doesn't get seen, allowing our back row and the backs to express themselves.
“He's a young man who has chosen to come here for the challenge instead of staying in South Africa where our feedback tells us he is extremely highly regarded as a potential future Springbok. That kind of attitude is exactly what we want in an Osprey.
“Bringing in Rynier means that we have increased options available to us for next season and we won't have to over rely on the likes of James King and Tyler Ardron in the second row. They are great club men who will do any job asked of them, but we see them primarily as back rowers.”