European Professional Club Rugby | South African influence: Bernard van der Linde

After South African clubs made their debuts in EPCR competitions last season, we look at some of the players who have enjoyed outstanding campaigns and look to make a further impact in 2023/24.

Bernard van der Linde will be looking to continue his impressive ePCR performances in the 2023/24 Champions Cup after announcing himself with a brace of tries for Vodacom Bulls in last season’s competition.

The Pretoria-based side, who made their debut in the EPCR’s elite competition in 2022/23, will play Saracens, Lyon, Bristol Bears and Union Bordeaux-Pegiles in Pool 1 next campaign.

Scrum-half van der Linde may have only featured twice in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup, but his debut in the competition was one to remember.

The 22-year-old played a key role in Vodacom Bulls’ Heineken Champions Cup bow, helping his side to a thrilling 42-36 victory over Lyon at Loftus Versfeld.

Van der Linde scored his first and Vodacom Bulls’ second on seven minutes.

He completed a quick double after 12 minutes, creating a delightful dummy before sailing under the posts unchallenged.

Van der Linde’s second Heineken Champions Cup appearance was less impressive, however, as the Vodacom Bulls suffered a crushing defeat at Exeter Chiefs, but he will be hoping to gain more EPCR experience when next season’s competition kicks off in December.

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