WHEN uncapped players leave South Africa for Europe it is often a recognition that their dream of playing for the Springboks is over. But tighthead prop Luan de Bruin insists that his own dream of representing his native country is very much alive – and that his move to Edinburgh could well help it become a reality.
The former South Africa Under-20 cap brought a six-year spell with the Cheetahs to an end last year, joining Leicester Tigers for a season with an understanding that he would then come to Scotland this summer. At 28 he knows that time is against him if he is to win full international honours, but believes that the inclusion of four South African sides in the new United Rugby Championship is sure to work in his favour.
“Everyone wants to play for their country and it is still a dream of mine to play for the Springboks,” De Bruin explained. “To do that you need to measure yourself against the current Springboks and those playing in the franchises too, so the South Africans joining the league we play in will help with that.”
De Bruin is a former schoolmate of Pierre Schoeman’s in Pretoria, and got in touch with the loosehead before agreeing to sign for Edinburgh. While he may still want to win a Springboks cap, he admires Schoeman’s ambition of playing for Scotland – an ambition that could be fulfilled this autumn now he is eligible on the residence rule.
“Obviously you want it to be a hard-working culture, so I spoke to Schoemies and he said it’s a great place to be. He told me about the players here – he said they were a bunch of hard-working gentlemen.
“I’m proud of him: he’s worked very hard and come a long way. I’m really excited that he wants to play for Scotland and I can’t wait until he plays for the team and makes his debut.”