Bulls scrumhalf set for England move

Vodacom Bulls scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl is in line to join former English Premiership champions Saracens next year.

Blue Bulls chief executive Edgar Rathbone confirmed to SARugbymag.co.za that Van Zyl and Saracens are currently in negotiations but said that a deal had yet to be confirmed, even though it was likely.

‘It’s a real pity because Ivan is playing very good rugby at the moment,’ Rathbone commented in a Netwerk24 report this past Sunday.

‘Obviously, we won’t stand in his way if that’s his decision [to leave]. Saracens have made a good acquisition.’

Reports in England suggested that Van Zyl could join Saracens as early as the end of this year, but Rathbone suggested it will only be in July 2021.

Schooled at Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies) in Pretoria, Van Zyl has been with the Bulls for the entirety of both his schooling and professional career, making his senior debut in the 2015 Vodacom Cup.

The 25-year-old made his Springbok debut in 2018 and went on to play six Tests, but missed out on selection for the 2019 World Cup.

Having rediscovered his form while working with consultant and former Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez, Van Zyl has started most of the Bulls’ matches in Super Rugby Unlocked and the Currie Cup, forming a formidable halfback combination with Morne Steyn.

His departure would leave Embrose Papier as the senior scrumhalf in the team, while wing Marco Jansen van Vuren is also able to play there.

Saracens will be playing in the RFU Championship next year after being relegating when they were found guilty of breaching the English RFU’s player salary-cap rules.

Van Zyl is not the only Bulls player linked with a move away, with reports in England suggesting that London Irish are targeting the signature of hooker Corniel Els.

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