Big-spending Northern Bulls bolster pack by hiring 'policeman' Van Rooyen


Johannesburg (AFP)

A Northern Bulls buying spree has continued with the signing of former Bath prop forward Jacques van Rooyen, who is popularly known as the 'policeman'.

A Bulls official confirmed Thursday that the 33-year-old had joined fellow new forwards Arno Botha, Nizaam Carr, Sintu Manjezi, Marcel van der Merwe, Walt Steenkamp and Duane Vermeulen.

New coach Jake White, who guided South Africa to the 2007 Rugby World Cup title in France, has wielded the axe since replacing out-of-favour Pote Human last March.

He also signed two ex-Springbok backs, Gio Aplon and Travis Ismaiel, while letting go of many former regulars, including captain and centre Burger Odendaal.

Van Rooyen, known as the 'policeman' because of his association with the police club in Pretoria, helped the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions reach three straight Super Rugby finals.

He then followed the path of many South African rugby players by moving to England, where he played for Bath, before heading to Japanese outfit NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes.

White is rebuilding the three-time Super Rugby champions amid uncertainty as to when rugby will resume in South Africa with coronavirus pandemic fatalities reaching 5,940 by Wednesday.

South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux hinted this week that a double-round Currie Cup could kick off in August if the government approves health protocol plans.