Glasgow Warriors have added some more South African beef to their roster for next season with the signing of back-five forward Sintu Manjezi from United Rugby Championship rivals the Vodacom Bulls (subject to medical and visa), on a deal which will run for an undisclosed length of time. 

The 27-year-old second-rower, who can also play blindside flanker, will join fellow South African JP du Preez and Tongan international Sione Vailanu as new boys in the Scotstoun pack next season, alongside academy graduates Max Williamson, Alex Samuel, Gregor Brown and Angus Fraser. 

Warriors will lose three second-rows from the current squad at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, with Rob Harley and Hamish Bain having been released while Kiran McDonald is moving to Wasps. That means Manjezi will compete against Scott Cummings, Richie Gray, Lewis Bean, du Preez, Williamson and Samuel for game time next season. Euan Ferrie, who will still be in the academy, could also come into contention if he continues to develop as he has done during the last year. 

There will be concern among some supporters in Scotland that Manjezi’s arrival could reduce game-time opportunities for youngsters Williamson, Samuel and Ferrie, which would inevitably impede their development. However, head coach Danny Wilson believes that Warriors needed more depth in that area in order to be competitive in both the URC and Europe. 

"Sintu is the type of attacking presence we wanted to add to our depth in the pack,” he said. "It’s great to bolster our second-row options with another exciting player that brings a real carrying presence and good set piece skillset – Sintu also brings the added bonus of being able to play at six. 

"We’re looking forward to welcoming him to Scotstoun in the summer ahead of the new season." 

The 6ft 6ins and athletic Manjezi first came to prominence in South African schoolboy rugby, captaining St Andrew’s College 1st XV and earning a place in the Eastern Province Academy. He made his Currie Cup debut for the province at the age of just 20, making 15 appearances in the 2016-17 season prior to a move to the Griquas the following year. 

He played the 2018-18 campaign at the Griquas alongside current Glasgow winger Kyle Steyn, before securing a move to the Toyota Cheetahs and helped the Bloemfontein outfit achieve a first ever play-off appearance at the end of the 2018-19 Guinness PRO14 season. 

The Cheetahs were in line to make it back-to-back play-offs when Covid forced the suspension of the 2019-20 PRO14 season, and at that point Manjezi was offered a move to the Bulls where he was part of the squad which lifted the 2020-21 Currie Cup. 

At this point, Manjezi was being spoken about as a player with the potential to become a full Springbok. However, an ACL injury sustained in the Currie Cup final in January 2021 side-lined him for several months and he has managed only one bench appearance – 17 minutes against the Sharks at the start of December – during the 2021-22 season to date. 

Manjezi studied commerce at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth and  represented Eastern Province Under-19 at cricket prior to turning professional. 

“I’m looking forward to playing for Glasgow and taking on a new challenge,” he said. “The opportunity of experiencing a new club outside of South Africa was one I couldn’t turn down. 

“I’ve played with Kyle Steyn previously and he speaks really highly of the club’s culture, the hard work that the players put in and its ambitions. 

“I think my skillset will compliment Glasgow’s style of play – I like to play with ball in hand and carry hard. 

“I can’t wait to get up to Glasgow and put in the hard yards every single day and earn the right to wear the jersey.” 

This has been a generally disappointing season for Glasgow. Whilst they spent most of the campaign in the top four of the URC, they have fallen away during the last month and ended up eighth, meaning a near-impossible away draw against Leinster in the play-offs and missing out on qualification to next season’s European Champions Cup. 

They were out-gunned in this year's Champions Cup, losing all four matches in a tough pool in which saw them face Champions Cup finalists La Rochelle and English Giants Exeter Chiefs, and then came up short against Lyon in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.

Frustrated Warriors fans have started to question whether Wilson is the right man to navigate the club to the sort of success they expect. The coach has always insisted that he is overseeing a long-term rebuilding project at Scotstoun, but there has been a worrying lack of discipline and focus in the team’s recent performances which casts doubt over whether things are currently moving in the right direction. 

Along with Manjezi, du Preez and Vailanu, Warriors will also be able to call on the services of Scotland international centre Huw Jones next season, who has returned to the club after a year playing for Harlequins.