Edinburgh Rugby today stepped into the transfer market to sign 27-year-old South African-born stand off Carl Bezuidenhout on an extended trial until the end of the season.
Bezuidenhout becomes the 17th non-Scot in the squad and the fifth Southern African player in addition to two South African coaches.
The 2013 Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup winner began training today with an eye on extending his deal and a statement issued by Edinburgh Rugby quoted the player as saying: “Playing in Europe is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I just needed the break and this is it.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for a new experience; different rugby, different people, different cultures, it’s all very appealing to me and I’m really glad I’m here.
“I’ve always wanted to travel with the sport. I got married in March so it’s something that we both really wanted to try as well.
“It’s just going to take hard work. I need to get stuck in from day one.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a chance out on the paddock soon to play my natural game and kick on from there.
“I’m delighted about it and want to grab it with both hands and get an extension.”
Bezuidenhout was in the Natal Sharks development squad before joining, in 2010, the Eastern Province team coached by Edinburgh mentor Alan Solomons.
Latterly he has turned out for Nelspruit-based Pumas.
Solomons said: “Carl has performed really well for the Pumas and played a pivotal role in their Currie Cup success this year.
“His game management is very good, he’s got a good boot out of hand and for goal, and is very athletic.
“He now has an excellent opportunity to show us what he is capable of, while also solving an immediate issue in that we are desperately short of fly-halves.”
Bezuidenhout’s arrival comes at a time when Greig Tonks has switched to stand off and is being tipped for Scotland honours while regular Edinburgh No.10s Harry Leonard, Piers Francis and Gregor Hunter are injured.