Johannesburg - Gloucester have announced the signing of South African tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer, who will join them from the Lions next season.
Dreyer is the second Lions player in a matter of hours to join the franchise's former coach Johan Ackermann at the English club after it was earlier announced that Franco Mostert was also leaving for Gloucester.
Dreyer has spent his club career to date as part of the Lions organisation, playing for the Golden Lions in the Currie Cup and the Lions in Super Rugby. For the latter, he was a key part of Johan Ackermann’s squad who reached back to back Super Rugby finals.
A former member of the South Africa U20 side who competed at the 2010 Junior World Championship, he toured Europe with the Springboks in 2014 and won his first Springbok cap against France last summer. He has now won four caps.
As befits the modern prop, he is as comfortable with ball in hand as he is at the set-piece and will play a key role in Gloucester’s 2018/19 season according to director of rugby David Humphreys.
"We know that successful Premiership teams are built upon a dominant pack and a strong platform up front, and Ruan’s signing, along with the other additions we’ve made to the squad, will help us to achieve that," he said.
"He’s a player who Johan knows very well from their time together with the Lions, and with Ruan’s Super Rugby and International experience, we’re very excited to see the impact that Ruan can make at Gloucester Rugby."
Dreyer himself is excited to pull on the Cherry and White jersey and develop his game at Kingsholm.
"I’m very excited to come over and play for Gloucester Rugby, it is a new challenge and a different environment, it also allows for much more time spent with my Wife, Zonica and baby Boy, Anru, and that’s very important for us," he said.
"I’m looking forward to build myself and test my skills, especially in the tight phases, as it is usually more physical rugby being played in the UK, I’m looking forward to be part of the new squad, especially building a team culture on and off the field."
Dreyer arrives at Kingsholm after spending his career in South Africa, and Super Rugby, but he explained his aims to add different elements to his game, and be reunited with Gloucester head coach Ackermann.
"Personally I’ve not really played lots of rugby in the UK, but the weather is different and that has a big influence on the type of game being played, I’m looking forward to adapting when the cold and wet weather arrives," he added.
"I’m very excited to play under coach Johan again, he is a really good coach, and his people skills are probably among the best of the coaches out there, he’s a people person and he will always put the team and its players first.
"He will always be honest with you, and you will always know where you stand, that makes it such a pleasure playing under him.
"Gloucester is a small city with lots of loyal rugby supporters that stands behind their team. Obviously it will be nice playing alongside Ruan (Ackermann) and Jaco (Kriel) again, and I’m looking forward to meet the new team mates and all the new characters in the squad.