RugybU: Springbok Kirchner joins Leinster

Springboks and Northern Bulls full-back Zane Kirchner has signed a two-year contract with Irish province Leinster, his franchise said Monday.

Kirchner, 28, is the latest South African rugby union star to move abroad as the financial rewards are far greater in Europe, especially with the rand struggling against major currencies.

Pretoria-based Bulls, three time winners of the southern hemisphere Super Rugby championship, will lose fly-half Morne Steyn and lock Juandre Kruger to French Top 14 sides this year.

Leinster, seeking a replacement for New Zealand-born Fiji international Isa Nacewa -- who is set to retire at the end of the current campaign -- hope to secure an early release for Kirchner from his contract, which expires after the domestic Currie Cup competition ends in October.

Although often the target of media criticism, 24-time capped Kirchner has been the first choice Springbok full-back since former Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer took charge last year.