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Bulls lose Smith, sign Dyantyi and Xaba

Kuyenzeka ‘Nama’ Xaba © Gallo Images

The Vodacom Bulls may have announced two new signings that were widely expected, but they will lose one of their stalwarts to a French club this off-season.

While the Pretoria-based union announced the arrivals of Hollywoodbets Sharks winger Aphiwe Dyantyi and DHL Stormers winger Nama Xaba, they lose the services of URC Golden Boot winner Chris Smith for the coming season as he heads to France.

Smith, who was crowned the most accurate kicker in the URC last season, has signed a contract with PROD2 club Oyannax as they look to make their way back into the French Top 14.

Often underrated by the clubs he played in, Smith was the 2018 SuperSport Challenge Player of the Year with the Pumas before moving to the Bulls, where he led them to the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup titles in 2020 during Covid led. and the Currie Cup again in 2021.

In total he played 63 games for the Bulls and another 24 for the Blue Bulls, and he will be missed.

The Bulls have cover at flyhalf, having signed Boeta Chamberlain from the Sharks and also have former Scotland international Jaco van der Walt in their ranks as back-up to first-choice Johan Goosen.

The signings of Xaba and Dyantyi were widely expected and farewells have already been made to their previous teams.

In the case of Dyantyi, coach Jake White will be hoping for a better time than he had when he signed S’bu Nkosi, the other top wing who made his Springbok debut in 2018.

Dyantyi missed the 2019 World Cup after being ruled out due to a positive test for anabolic steroids and returned to play for the Sharks last season without much fanfare. Since then he has struggled to recapture the form that made him a Springbok.

‘SECOND CHANCE’

Nkosi and later Wandisile Simelane are two examples of signings White made that didn’t work out, with Nkosi still in the rugby wilderness and Simelane now at the Stormers.

“This feels like a second chance,” Dyantyi said in a team press release.

“It will be good to be in an environment like the Bulls, almost very familiar considering I was on the highway during the beginning of my career.”

“I have spent over ten years in Gauteng, so it is familiar territory and this move feels like coming home. I am closer to family and friends, a support structure that has been so important to me over the years.

“I hope to enjoy my time with the Loftus family and am grateful for the opportunity Jake (White) and Edgar (Rathbone) have given me.”

Xaba has struggled with injuries and the emergence of players like Hacjivah Dayimani and stalwarts like Deon Fourie have kept him out of regular appearances for the Stormers.

But he comes into a Bulls environment with more than enough competition among the free agents and will have his work cut out for him.

“This is a privilege for me to join the most successful trade union in South Africa,” his press release said.

“I’m looking forward to another challenge outside my comfort zone. There are a lot of quality players at the Bulls and I want to play alongside them. I also have a great opportunity to be taught by experienced coaches, I look forward to learning from them.”

“I can’t wait to join the rugby this club plays and I hope I can do my part to add more silverware to the Loftus trophy cabinet.”

The Bulls have also acquired the services of utility forward Cobus Wiese from Sale Sharks and Chamberlain from the Sharks.