The Ospreys are adding Rynier Bernardo to their ranks in the summer
The Ospreys have swooped for South African lock Rynier Bernardo, signing the 22-year-old on a three-year deal.
The second-row who stands at six feet six inches, will link-up with the four-time RaboDirect PRO12 champions at the start of next season.
Pretoria-born Bernardo impressed in his 10 games for the Southern Kings in last year's Super Rugby season and more recently for the Eastern Province Kings in South Africa's Currie Cup.
The Ospreys see Bernardo as a replacement for their departing Wales and British Lions international Ian Evans, who will leave the region for French giant Toulon at the end of the season.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for me, personally and professionally, and I'm really excited about arriving in Wales this summer," said Bernardo. "The Ospreys are a great team used to competing at the top end of the PRO12, with some great players, and I'm looking forward to being a part of a young and talented squad there.
"It's a big challenge for me, but I can't wait to get started. Hopefully I'll be able to make a big impression and help the team to more success, domestically and in European competition."
Bernardo is the Ospreys' fourth new recruit ahead of next season. Steve Tandy and co have already signed Fiji centre Josh Matavesi from Worcester and Wales international full-back Dan Evans and his Newport Gwent Dragons team-mate, hooker Sam Parry.
"Rynier is an exciting addition to our squad and something of a coup for the Ospreys," said Andy Lloyd, rugby operations manager at the Ospreys. "He is highly respected in his home country and comes with a strong reputation as a traditional second row who tackles well, hits rucks, and has the all-round physical edge that you expect from a South African in that position.
"He's a big man who thrives on the unglamorous side of the game and will do the work that doesn't get seen, allowing our back row boys and the backs to express themselves.
"Our feedback tells us he is extremely highly regarded as a potential future Springbok. That kind of attitude is exactly what we want in an Osprey."
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