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A second South African prospect joins up with Munster’s academy

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Another young South African player has joined the province’s ranks.

Outside centre Matt More moved to Ireland late last year around the same time as Knox, having finished school in South Africa in December.

19-year-old More is also rated as a fine talent within South African rugby circles, having excelled for St. Andrew’s College in the Eastern Province region.

More played for the Eastern Province Country Districts provincial side at the 2016 Craven Week during his penultimate year in school, impressing at the famous underage competition, while he also received a call-up to the Eastern Province U19 team.

This year, More was not eligible to play for the Eastern Province side at Craven Week, but he helped St. Andrew’s to a superb season in which they lost just two games.

A pacy, intelligent presence in midfield, 97kg and 6’2″ More scored a record-breaking 29 tries for the school in 2017, meaning he dotted down a remarkable 45 times in 43 games over the course of three years for St Andrew’s 1st XV.

It’s understood that a number of professional sides in South Africa were interested in More, including the Bulls, but he has instead made a move to Munster and is now training with the province’s academy alongside tighthead prop Knox.

More, who is also capable of playing at fullback, is not Irish-qualified. However, both More and Knox are understood to have arrived in Ireland in 2017, meaning they would potentially be able to complete a three-year residency period before the altering of World Rugby’s regulation to five years on 31 December, 2020.

With the two South Africans not being contracted to Munster’s full senior squad, they will not be counted among the province’s batch of NIQ players in the shorter term.

Qualifying the players for Ireland under the residency regulation is understood to be far from the thoughts of Munster at this point, as they assess the quality and potential of both young men.

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Bulls duo sign with London Irish

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Talented South African duo, scrum-half Piet van Zyl and back-row Arno Botha, have signed for London Irish from Super Rugby side the Bulls.

Representing the Springboks on three occasions, Van Zyl, 28, joins former team-mate Botha at Irish. A bullet pass from the breakdown coupled with an excellent kicking game and a cutting edge in attack, Van Zyl is a solid acquisition for Irish as fellow number nine Brendan McKibbin continues his recovery from injury.

Bringing Super Rugby experience to the table having made 76 appearances in the competition for both the Cheetahs and the Blue Bulls, Van Zyl is ready for the fight as the Exiles strive to steer themselves to safety.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things about London Irish and I’m excited at the prospect of playing for the club in the Aviva Premiership,” said Van Zyl, who made his debut for the Springboks during a 30-17 victory over Scotland in 2013.

“I wanted a fresh challenge and the opportunity to make the move to the northern hemisphere was too good to turn down.

“I’ll be doing everything I can to help the club move up the Aviva Premiership table and I can’t wait to pull on the famous green jersey.”

Meanwhile Botha, capped twice by the Springboks, can operate as either a flanker or number eight and has teamed up with fellow countrymen Franco van der Merwe, Petrus du Plessis, Sebastian De Chaves and Richard Palframan at the club’s Hazelwood training complex today.

The explosive ball carrier made 82 appearances for the Blue Bulls, skippering the side to the Currie Cup Final in 2016 to underline his credentials as an effective leader.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to join London Irish, a club that is steeped in history and tradition,” said Botha.

“I’ve always wanted to test myself in northern hemisphere rugby and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of helping the club secure its Aviva Premiership status.”