Springbok makes mid-season switch to Japan to cover for Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel

Jared Wright
Sharks and Springboks centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg plus Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel.

Sharks and Springboks centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg plus Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel.

Springboks centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg has signed a short-term deal with Japanese Rugby League One side, the Canon Eagles.

The midfielder leaves the Sharks midway through the United Rugby Championship season to ink a deal with the Japanese club, which has Springboks Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel sidelined.

Janse van Rensburg makes early exit

Janse van Rensburg has reportedly signed with French Top 14 club Bordeaux ahead of the 2024/25 campaign but will now leave the Sharks earlier than expected.

He will fill one of the Canon Eagles’ foreign player slots, as Kriel and De Klerk are set to miss most of the regular season.

Earlier this year, both players confirmed their respective injuries, with Kriel stating that his thumb injury – that he had an operation on – would mean that he wouldn’t “miss too many games” and that he would be “back for the end of the season for few games”. There was no return date provided for De Klerk.

This means that Janse van Rensburg will be able to feature for the side for the rest of the season before linking up with Bordeaux ahead of the 2024/25 Top 14 campaign. He has reportedly signed a three-year deal with Bordeaux along with Munster fly-half Joey Carbery, who inked a two-year contract.

Jacques Nienaber tips Springboks defence coach to excel under Rassie Erasmus

“I’m very excited to join the Yokohama Canon Eagles team; it’s a real honour for me to represent the club and its people,” Janse van Rensburg said.

“I strive to help the team in any way possible and can’t wait to build long-lasting relationships this season. I can’t wait to show you all as much of me as I can.”

Japanese Rugby League One regulations allow clubs to have three players who have been capped internationally for nations other than Japan in their squad.

De Klerk, Kriel and Wallabies forward Matt Philip filled up Canon Eagles’ quota, but the injury to the aforementioned pair means that the side can recruit an international replacement.

Sharks in the market for a centre

As for the Sharks, they have been in the market for a new inside centre ahead of the new season due to Janse van Rensburg’s departure.

Montpellier centre Jan Serfontein was reportedly on their radar, as well as the Bulls, but the Bok midfielder opted to sign an extension at the Top 14 club over a return to South Africa.

Meanwhile, recent reports suggest that the Sharks are willing to splash £500,000 to buy Andre Esterhuizen out of the final year of his contract at Harlequins.

READ MORE: Paul Gustard’s Six Nations Team of the Week: ‘Complete’ wing stars for Ireland while one Scot makes the cut