The Waratahs used the power of the Australian dollar to kill off any hopes that the Vodacom Bulls may have had of luring utility forward Jacques Potgieter back to South Africa.
Potgieter is currently having a superb season with the Vodacom Super Rugby log leaders and has been one of the reasons Michael Cheika’s side has been doing so well, using his skills to good effect to provide more than just a traditional forward role with the Sydney-based franchise.
The Bulls had opened negotiations with Potgieter to return for next year’s Super Rugby tournament after he left them a year ago, but these were snubbed out by the Waratahs, who made a significant counter offer to keep him in Sydney.
It is understood that Potgieter wanted to return to try and make the squad for the Rugby World Cup after being in the Springbok set-up in 2012.
It is ironic that the Bulls want him back now that he is playing good rugby, while they let him go, ostensibly because he didn’t “fit into the culture” at Loftus Versfeld a year earlier.
The Waratahs’ counter offer was apparently almost double the cash the Bulls offered him, something they couldn’t match and now Potgieter will stay in Sydney for at least another season.
The long-haired forward confirmed the deal to supersport.com on Tuesday, saying he “missed South Africa but I have another year in Sydney to complete.”
His agent, Gert van der Merwe, said there was a chance he would come back but the power of the dollar had eventually made the decision for Potgieter.
“He certainly was looking to come back, but the deal he was offered was a good one, and it was hard to refuse,” Van der Merwe said.
Potgieter will return to South Africa after Super Rugby and will need to decide if he returns to Japan or if he looks for a local franchise to play Absa Currie Cup rugby for.
The Bulls have secured the signature of Adriaan Strauss and Lappies Labuschagne, both from the Toyota Cheetahs, for the coming season although they are likely to lose promising hooker Bongi Mbonambi at the end of the season.