Ulster Rugby has confirmed they have signed powerful Springbok back row Jean Deysel, who will arrive at Kingspan Stadium in mid-July on a two-year deal.
The 32-year-old South African, capped four times by his country, will join from the Sharks Super Rugby franchise. He has made 156 appearances for the Durban-based outfit since joining from the Lions in 2007.
His selection for the Emerging Springboks in their match against the touring British & Irish Lions in 2009 pre-empted a call-up for South Africa’s end of season tour to Europe. He made his Test debut against Italy in November that year and has played in a further three Tests, all of which came during the 2011 Tri-Nations Series.
More recently, Deysel signed a contract to join Japanese side Toyota Verblitz at the conclusion of the 2014 Super Rugby season, before returning to the Sharks.
Earlier this year he joined Munster on a three-month loan deal as injury cover and was heavily involved in the latter stages of the season.
Operations Director Bryn Cunningham was happy to secure the services of Deysel and said: “I’m very pleased with this outcome as I think Jean will add real value to our squad both on and off the pitch. We had a sizeable list of potential targets, even at this late stage of the season, but we believed Jean would be the best fit because his attributes are exactly what we need moving forward.
“He is one of the strongest ball carriers in South African rugby and he really relishes the physical side of the game. He is abrasive and confrontational, with the ball and without the ball, as we have witnessed first-hand for Munster.
“Jean has captained the Sharks a number of times and that leadership ability and added experience will be important for us as we look to nurture some talented young forwards in our pathway.
“When you add in a fit-again Marcell (Coetzee), Schalk (van der Merwe) arriving to add strength to the front-row competition and guys like Kieran (Treadwell) and Sean (Reidy) continuing to excel, the signs are good for a more robust and dominant forward pack next season.”