Bulls poach Lion King

Wikus van Heerden has signed a contract with the Blue Bulls.

An emotional Van Heerden hinted at the move after the Lions’ victory against Western Province on Saturday. While he wouldn’t give SuperSport’s Joel Stransky any details, it was later revealed that he’d told his team-mates about his impending departure before the game.

In a sense, Van Heerden is returning to his roots. He was born in Johannesburg, but went to Hoerskool Waterkloof near Pretoria, and played Craven Week for Northern Transvaal. However, he has spent the last nine seasons with the Lions, and captained them for the last three. His only stint away from the union was in 2002 when he was drafted to the Bulls’ Super 12 side.

Similarly, Wikus’s Springbok father, Moaner, was born and educated in Pretoria, played for Northern Transvaal, went to Transvaal for three seasons and then back to Northern Transvaal for another two seasons, playing 77 times for Northerns in all.

According to Rapport rugby writer Rudolph Lake, the Golden Lions made Van Heerden a “big counter-offer” to stay in Johannesburg, which he rejected.