It will be a homecoming of sorts for the 27-year-old Odendaal, who was born in
Bloemfontein but matriculated at Monument High School in Krugersdorp
and played Craven Week for the Golden Lions in 2011.
After leaving high school, Odendaal opted to further his studies at the University of Pretoria, turning out for the Bulls from the 2013 season.
Last year he was promoted to captain by former Bulls coach Pote Human.
However, newly appointed Bulls director of rugby Jake White made it clear that Odendaal did not form part of his plans, and Odendaal had since been in talks with the Lions, as well as Japanese
He was set to link up with several former Bulls teammates who had also signed with the Lions, including fullback Divan Rossouw, centre Dan Kriel, wing/centre Duncan Matthews, flank Roelof Smit and
scrum-half Andre Warner.
Odendaal, who played 56 Super Rugby games for the Bulls, was expected to
provide another big boost for the Lions, following the recent announcements that Springbok prop Ruan Dreyer was returning from Gloucester and wing Rabz Maxwane was moving to Joburg from the Cheetahs.
He was due to compete with the likes of Kriel, Matthews, Wandile Simelane and Manny Rass for a place in midfield.
It was previously reported that Odendaal’s contract at the Bulls was
in the region of R3 million, which
was considered too expensive by White, but the details of his deal with the Lions was being treated as confidential.
Meanwhile, former Stormers and Leicester Tigers fullback/centre EW
Viljoen was also apparently on his way to the Lions, though the union had not yet confirmed his signature.