Stellenbosch hooker Callie Visagie, the 2011 Varsity Cup Player of the Tournament, will further his rugby career in Johannesburg after signing a two-year deal with the Golden Lions.
Visagie, who captained the FNB Maties in the 2011 Varsity Cup, is a highly-rated and hard-as-nails hooker and the Lions have done well to claim his signature ahead of next season.
"I think it'll be great," Visagie told the official Varsity Cup website, varsitycup.co.za, about his impending move.
"With Tiaan Liebenberg and Deon Fourie here, I thought my chances of playing regular Super Rugby and Currie Cup rugby would be better elsewhere.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity and hopefully I can take it with both hands."
Aside from his on-field performances in Maroon this season, Visagie hit the headlines earlier this year when he effectively turned down an opportunity to play for the Stormers and Western Province due to his study commitments.
Having had a tough 2010 academic year (he is completing an honours degree in accounting), Visagie maintains that he still made the correct decision.
"I've got two weeks of classes left... then a few tests and then exams at the end of September and October," he explained.
"It's been a tough grind, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully I can get through this final hurdle!
"I can then write my first Board exam in January," added Visagie, "and I'm also trying to find a firm in Johannesburg where I can begin my articles - perhaps on some kind of flexi-time due to my rugby commitments next season."
The 23-year-old former Paarl Boys' High scholar has not played any rugby this season since picking up a Varsity Cup-ending shoulder injury against the Ikey Tigers on March 7.
Having subsequently undergone an operation to fix his shoulder, Visagie has been undergoing rehabilitation - on top of his studies - to ensure he is ready to go come next season.
"For the time being my rugby career in the Cape is over," he said.
"I've enjoyed every single minute of my time at Stellenbosch and, of course, in the Varsity Cup, too. It's a great competition and I'd love to have played more Varsity Cup rugby... but, I guess, you have to move on some time.
"Who knows, maybe I'll return to the Cape some time in the future. One can never say never... but, for now, I'm really looking forward to joining the Lions and giving my rugby career a real go."
Of course, Visagie will not be the only former Matie (and former Varsity Cup winner) in Johannesburg.
He will join ex-Stellenbosch teammates Jacobie Adriaanse and Josh Strauss at the Lions and he will, in all probability, live with his brother who is based in Jo'burg at present.
"I've had a lot of old mates call me since the news (about my signing) broke," he chuckled, "it seems I know a lot more people there than I realised!"
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