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Schmidt backs Zane to deliver


Zane Kirchner at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.Picture: Getty Images.

Zane Kirchner at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.Picture: Getty Images.

Zane Kirchner at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.Picture: Getty Images.

SOUTH AFRICAN full-back Zane Kirchner will be tasked with the awesome responsibility of taking over the mantle from Isa Nacewa as Leinster's overseas back-three maestro.

Kirchner (28) has signed on for two years as a proven international, having made 24 appearances for his country, played three times against Ireland, winning twice, most recently in the 16-12 win at the Aviva Stadium in November.

Previous to that, Kirchner made his only international appearance at outside centre, directly opposite Brian O'Driscoll, in the 23-21 2010 November series win for South Africa, again in Dublin.

His first taste of competition against Ireland was not such a satisfying occasion when he was on the wrong side of a 15-10 loss in November of 2009.

"Zane Kirchner is a quality international player and we believe that he will add genuine value to the Leinster squad over the next few years," said Leinster coach Joe Schmidt.



"He's well balanced, fast and skilful and has featured for the Springboks in their last nine internationals. At 28, he is ideally placed to contribute to team performance while also passing on his experience to some of our younger outside backs."

The man from George on the Western Cape made his Springbok debut against the British & Irish Lions in Johannesburg back in 2009.

Kirchner has made 101 provincial appearances for the Blue Bulls and has scored 20 tries in 77 Super Rugby caps. He has taken the opinion that now is the time for change.

The Leinster management is thought to have been impressed with the commitment Kirchner has shown to making the transition from the power-based, forward-orientated Blue Bulls to the high-tempo Irish province.

Kirchner first came to prominence as a 19-year-old member of the Griquas squad in the Currie Cup from 2003 to 2007 before making the move to the Blue Bulls.

He has enjoyed the trust of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer to win favour as the number one full-back for South Africa, playing in their last nine internationals.

This role has been mostly limited to defensive and kicking duties and he is ready to embrace a different culture with a different playing ethos.


Total tests: 24.

Position: Full-back (23 appearances); Centre (1).

Test debut: 4 July 2009 vs British & Irish Lions in Johannesburg aged 25.

Total Springbok matches: 24.

Win ratio: 13-10-1.

Against Ireland: Played 3; Won 2, Lost 1.