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Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 11:15 UK

Leeds sign Wentzel from Leicester

Marco Wentzel
Wentzel has played 24 games for Leicester this season

Leeds Carnegie have signed second row Marco Wentzel from Leicester Tigers on a two-year contract for next season.

The South Africa international has been at the Tigers for the past two years, after joining from Italian club Benetton Treviso in 2007.

"I am really excited to be joining Leeds Carnegie and getting the chance to work with Neil Back and Andy Key again," the 29-year-old said.

"Having Neil and Andy there means it is not a leap into the dark for me."

Wentzel added: "I went to see a couple clubs around the Guinness Premiership and Leeds was right up there in terms of the set-up but my decision was not all about facilities though.

"I played with Andre Snyman many years ago at Free State and I know Rayno Gerber as well. I spoke to both of them about Leeds and they had nothing but good things to say about the club and the city.

"That made the decision to join Leeds Carnegie a lot easier and I am excited about the challenge for next season.

"Hopefully the team can complete the job this season and get back into the Guinness Premiership.

"The first year will be tough and Leeds will have to fight for their place but after that, the systems that are in place at the club means that there are some exciting times ahead.

"There is great competition at Leicester with me and Ben Kay rotating each week but I am sure there will be competition at Carnegie as well, just like every team in the Guinness Premiership.

The fact we have been able to attract someone who has as much experience of playing Premiership, Heineken Cup and international rugby as Marco demonstrates he recognises the ambition and is aware of the environment that is being created at Leeds

Neil Back

"That brings the best out of people and will certainly help us next season."

The forward, who can also play in the back row played in the Guinness Premiership Final at Twickenham for Leicester last season.

He has also played Currie Cup rugby with Boland Cavaliers and gained Super 12 experience with the Blue Bulls and the Cats, winning Test caps with South Africa against Scotland and France in 2002.

Leeds head coach Neil Back explained: "The signing of Marco Wentzel, someone who Andy and I know very well from our time at Leicester, is a signal of our ambition and intent at Leeds Carnegie.

"The fact that we have been able to attract someone who has as much experience of playing Premiership, Heineken Cup and international rugby as Marco demonstrates that he recognises that ambition and is aware of the environment that is being created at Leeds Carnegie.

"He is a player who Andy and myself spent a lot of time with to help him develop his game earlier in his career and his signing for Leeds repays that time spent with him.

"We want to move Leeds Carnegie forward from a good club to a great club over the next few years and by showing that we have the ability to sign players of the quality of Marco, we believe we show that we are attracting someone who has the quality to compete at the top.

"Hopefully he will be the first of many to follow."



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