Kings prop heads to Ulster

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 12:20
Large les kiss on schalk van der merwe 800

NEWS: Ulster have lured powerful front row forward Schalk van der Merwe to Belfast.

He will join the Irish province later this year on a two-year deal.

The 26-year-old will make the move following the conclusion of the 2017 Super Rugby season, in which he is representing the Southern Kings franchise.

The loosehead prop had a recent stint in France with Jake White's Montpellier and prior to that he played in his homeland, South Africa.

He earned 25 Super Rugby caps for the Lions in 2014 and 2015, as they produced a number of dominant scrum displays against much-vaunted opposition.

"Schalk is a talented player who I've been really impressed by," Director of Rugby Les Kiss said.

"He was the cornerstone of the Lions scrum that dominated for a couple of Super Rugby seasons.

"In addition to his excellent scrummaging, he will give us some much-needed physicality in the loose, and this will be a major plus for us in the seasons ahead.

"He has a hard edge and he's determined to work hard to nail down a starting place here at Ulster.

"His arrival will give us much-improved depth at loosehead, with Kyle McCall, Andy Warwick and Callum Black also on the books.

"As we've seen this season, injuries, particularly in the front row, mean that at times we're required to delve deep into our pool of resources.

"With the impending arrivals of Arno Botha and Schalk, the return to fitness of Marcell Coetzee, and the ongoing development of Academy players like Ross Kane, Aaron Hall, Tommy O'Hagan and Marcus Rea, we will have a much stronger roster of forwards to select from next season."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
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Team P W D L Pts
Munster 22 19 0 3 86
Leinster 22 18 0 4 85
Scarlets 22 17 0 5 77
Ospreys 22 14 0 8 69
Ulster 22 14 1 7 68
Glasgow Warriors 22 11 0 11 58
Cardiff Blues 22 11 1 10 53
Connacht 22 9 0 13 44
Edinburgh 22 6 0 16 31
Treviso 22 5 0 17 23
Dragons 22 4 0 18 23
Zebre 22 3 0 19 19