London Irish sign Bok lock

2017-08-31 18:11
Franco van der Merwe (Getty Images)

Cape Town - London Irish have completed the signing of South African second row Franco van der Merwe for the 2017/18 Premiership Rugby season.

Van der Merwe, 34, has made just under 200 appearances for the Lions and Sharks prior to joining PRO14 club Ulster in 2014.

The experienced Springbok lock will join fellow countryman Sebastian de Chaves.

A mainstay of Ulster's pack, Van der Merwe played 73 times for the club including appearances in the European Rugby Champions Cup during three seasons at Ravenhill.

"I'm really happy to be here at London Irish," said Van der Merwe told the English club's website.

"It's a club that has big ambitions and my main focus is to work extremely hard to put myself in contention for selection. I can't wait to pull on the London Irish jersey in the Premiership."

Exiles' director of rugby Nick Kennedy, a former second row himself, is delighted to have bolstered the London Irish pack with the lineout specialist.

"I'm delighted to welcome Franco to London Irish and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the team," said Kennedy.

"He's got great experience and good leadership skills, which will certainly help the development of the younger members of our squad. He'll be an important figure to have around the club as we return to the Premiership."

Van der Merwe is available to play his opening game against the Harlequins in the London Double Header at Twickenham this coming Saturday.

Van der Merwe has only played one Test for the Springboks against the All Blacks in 2013.

Read more on:    franco van der merwe  |  rugby

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