Jannes Kirsten: Exeter forward hopes move to England can secure South Africa place

Jannes Kirsten
Jannes Kirsten has spent almost all his career with Pretoria-based Bulls, aside from a short spell at Japanese side Toyota Verblitz last season

Exeter forward Jannes Kirsten hopes his move to England can help him earn a place in future South Africa squads.

The 25-year-old second row moved to the Premiership runners-up this summer from Super Rugby's Bulls.

The former South Africa under-20 lock was part of the Bulls side that made Super Rugby's quarter-finals this year.

"I still want to play internationally and the fact that I can come over here and still play internationals is a bonus," he told BBC Sport.

Kirsten says he has taken inspiration from Sale's Faf de Klerk, who has made his country's World Cup squad, and his Springbok team-mates at the Sharks, such as Lood de Jager, Akker van der Merwe and the Du Preez brothers, as well as the success of Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann.

"They set the example and if they can do it you can do it," Kirsten added.

"If you look at many of the players that are playing in England they're playing for the Springboks now, so it actually makes you think you've got some opportunity to still play the top level."

Kirsten's arrival as injury cover means he has a short spell to prove himself, but Exeter boss Rob Baxter says it is up to the South African to prove he is worthy of a longer deal.

"We picked up some second-row injuries and we used some injury dispensation to look around and see what we could find and his name came up," Exeter's director of rugby told BBC Sport.

"We liked what we saw, we feel our game will suit him and we can adapt a couple of things with the Bulls that will make him even more productive for us.

"He's here as much for an opportunity to play in the Premiership and play in Europe because injury dispensation contracts tends to be one year, and it's for him now to prove that he's indispensible, and if he does that he'll probably get a longer contract."