The newest addition to the Vodacom Bulls’ ever-growing squad, Jan Uys, is excited and optimistic about his new venture after spending the last four years in France, writes ANDRE HUISAMEN.
The Pretoria-based team announced the signing of the 26-year-old lock on Wednesday as director of rugby Jake White continues to reel in new players with the hope of building a competitive Bulls team once again.
In an exclusive interview with SARugbymag.co.za, Uys said he is looking forward to the opportunity to join up with his new teammates after his contract with Top 14 club CA Brive ended in the middle of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Joining a big union like the Bulls is a massive honour. They are obviously one of the biggest franchises in the world and are very successful. It’s a brand-new team that is being put together, a lot of new things that are happening, so it is quite an exciting time for them in Pretoria and I think it is going to be a great opportunity.’
The giant forward matriculated from Paul Roos Gymnasium in 2012, before spending two years at Western Province, where he featured under current Stormers head coach John Dobson in the 2014 Vodacom Cup.
He then left the Cape later that year to move to the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth, but departed South Africa in 2016 when he initially joined French outfit Pau on a six-month deal.
Uys will leave France on Saturday to start with his new team on 1 July with a contract that will run until November next year and he is hoping to hit the ground running as soon as possible.
‘I developed a lot as a rugby player at Brive. I played against some big names in that time like Dan Carter, Matt Giteau and Ma’a Nonu, just to name a few, but I am really excited to return to South Africa. I think it is every kid’s dream to play [Vodacom] Super Rugby if you grow up in a country like South Africa.
‘I learned a lot as a player and to be able to take that experience back to South Africa will hopefully help me to make a name for myself at the Bulls and put a stamp down with my performances,’ he added.
Uys will add further firepower to an already strong Bulls forward pack after the union also confirmed the arrival of Cheetahs second-row pair Sintu Manjezi and Walt Steenkamp earlier this week and, according to Uys, it should make for good competition.
‘I am just relieved for the stability it will bring, given the uncertainty within unions at the moment with the coronavirus. But, I am just excited for the new challenge and to sign for the Bulls, which is a great privilege.
‘I will definitely learn a lot from the senior players there as well. I think it will be hard and tough, but I look forward to something new and the good competition within the squad.’