Full-back Zane Kirchner has signed for Bristol Bears on a one-month loan deal from the Dragons amid mounting injury woes for head coach Pat Lam.
A veteran of 31 caps for South Africa, Kirchner moves from the PRO14 side to Ashton Gate following injuries to Charles Piutau, Luke Daniels and Matt Protheroe in the Bears’ backline department.
It is the second time Lam has been forced to turn to the market having signed Wallabies legend George Smith in pre-season.
After starting the Premiership campaign with a victory and a defeat from their first two games, Lam commented he was pleased to have someone with the pedigree of Kirchner to add to his squad.
“With three of our first team fullbacks recovering from injury, it was important to add a player of Zane’s ability and international experience on a short-term basis as we prepare for the tough challenges ahead,” Lam said.
“Zane has played for some of the top clubs in world rugby and will slot in quickly. We’re grateful to Bernard [Jackman] and Dragons for their co-operation in the process.”
34-year-old Kirchner left the Bulls in 2012 as a key part of the Springboks’ back three to make the move north to Leinster, winning the PRO12 final in his second season.
A move to the Dragons in March 2017 followed after Leinster signed New Zealander James Lowe.