Leinster has secured the signing of three players ahead of the 2011/2012 season with South African Steven Sykes, Crusaders fly half Matt Berquist and Connacht Prop Jaime Hagan all completing deals with the club.
Sykes, a South African second rower who plays for the Natal Sharks has signed a three year deal. The player is yet to receive a cap for South Africa and at the end of his three year would be eligible for the Ireland squad. Speaking about the move, the 26 year old stated ‘Leinster is a leading European club, regularly challenging for top honours, and I can’t wait to be involved. I think it will be great for me and my wife to get the experience of living there as well.’
Meanwhile 27 year old Berquist is a former Hawke’s bay, Otago and Auckland fly half with 21 Super 15 caps to his name. Berquist has signed a one year deal with the option to extend.
He said: ‘I have always been keen to test myself in Europe and the Magners League and Heineken Cup competitions will certainly provide a real challenge. I am delighted to join an ambitious club who are on the up. Leinster has a strong reputation in New Zealand and I am excited by the opportunity to test myself in a new environment.’
Finally the move for Hagan represents the chance to play once again for his home town team with 23 year old a native of Balbriggan. Hagan has played 46 games for Connacht since his move west in 2009.
Off the move, Hagan said: ‘I am delighted to be heading back home to Leinster and I am looking forward to the new challenges that I will face. Everyone in Connacht (particularly Eric Elwood and Dan McFarland) has been very good to me over the last few years and I’m looking forward to pushing on from my experience in Galway to make an impact when I return to Leinster in the summer.’