Saturday 24 March 2018

Dragons sign Leinster ace Kirchner

Zane Kirchner's move to Newport Gwent Dragons has been confirmed by Leinster.
Zane Kirchner's move to Newport Gwent Dragons has been confirmed by Leinster.
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

A day after his replacement's signing was announced, Zane Kirchner's departure from Leinster was confirmed, although the South African will be back at the RDS next season.

The Springbok is swapping the top of the Guinness Pro12 table for the bottom this summer when he joins perennial strugglers the Newport Gwent Dragons.

As he approaches the end of his often underwhelming four-year stint, Kirchner paid a generous tribute to the province in a statement.

"To a badge and a fraternity that literally turned my life around. A place that became home. Friends that grew closer than family," he said.

"From me and my family we humbly thank everyone for the adventure.

"To the organisation, from top to bottom, thank you for allowing me to set foot in a club which I believe is the best that I've ever been. To the Leinster blue faithful, I hope that even for a little while I brought joy to your presence at our games.

"The roar and memories of the RDS is something I'll carry and treasure for the rest of my life.

"I am very grateful."

Kirchner was signed as a replacement for Isa Nacewa in 2013 but has rarely hit the heights of a man he has come to join in the Leinster back-three on many occasions since the side's current captain came out of retirement.

Kirchner's finest hour in blue was the final of the Pro12 in 2014 when he scored two tries in a devastating performance against Glasgow Warriors at the RDS as he claimed so far his solitary medal with the province.

Competing in a fiercely-contested back-three, he has struggled to get into the match-day 23 for big games at times and will be replaced by New Zealander James Lowe.

Irish Independent

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