French club Montpellier have snapped up the signatures of two of South Africa’s most gifted centres – Bulls veteran Wynand Olivier and Western Province centre JP du Plessis among their acquisitions ahead of the new European season.
According to the supersport.com website, Olivier, who returned from Japan to the Bulls earlier this year, has also requested an early release, which has been given, and it is likely he has already played his last game for the Pretoria team in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
The 29-year-old played for the Bulls in Durban last week, but was dropped on Wednesday for rising star Jan Serfontein, and it is likely that with Francois Venter also returning to full fitness, the Bulls will be well-covered if he is granted an early release.
Bulls High Performance Manager Xander Janse van Rensburg confirmed that an early release had been received.
“We knew there was interest from overseas, and we did receive the request, which was granted, but that’s all I know at the moment,” Janse van Rensburg said.
Olivier has signed for just one season whereafter it is likely he will either renew or retire from the game.
Du Plessis has struggled since returning from Australia and played a handful of games for Western Province last year after a stint with the Sydney Roosters in Rugby League and was apparently unhappy in Cape Town, prompting the move.
The Kroonstad born centre has played for the Stormers and Melbourne Rebels and in an interesting move has signed until 2016, making it unlikely for him to return to South Africa and opening up the possibility of qualifying for France if he so sees fit.
Montpellier also added the names of Scottish international Jim Hamilton, former Tongan and Australian lock Sitaleki Timani, former Highlanders utility back Anthony Tuitavake and French Under-20 wing Lucas Smith.