Why Matt is right fit for Sharks
Why Matt is right fit for SharksSHARE
The Sharks made a "great deal" to secure the services England international and current Saracens prop Matt Stevens.
The Durban-born Stevens, who will join the Sharks in August ahead of the start of the Currie Cup competition, signed a two-year contract.
Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White the 31-year-old Stevens, with 39 Test caps and close to 150 Premiership games, will be a good 'teacher' for the youngsters in the Sharks set-up.
"He comes from Kearsney College and he has obviously learnt all his rugby here in this [KwaZulu-Natal] province," White told this website.
"He has never played in the Currie Cup [competition] and there is a burning desire to be part of the Currie Cup campaign.
"I think it is a great signing," the World Cup-winning former Bok coach said, adding: "He is an international, he played for the British and Irish Lions, while he can also play on both sides of the scrum."
White pointed to young players like locks Peter-Steph du Toit and Stephan Lewies, as well as loosehead prop Thomas du Toit as those who could benefit from the veteran's arrival.
"There's a lot of learning they can get from a guy like him," he told this website, adding: "For him to come to the Sharks is a great deal for us."
Of course he will add some much-needed depth to the Sharks squad at a time when their entire first-choice front row is likely to be on Springbok duty.
"With the front row that we have – Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, along with Tendai Mtawarira – he [Stevens] is a good compliment to have.
"With those guys set to be on Springbok duty later this year I have no doubt we are going to need the experience of another senior guy in the front row.
"I feel it is a very good time to get him to join the Sharks."
Sharks CEO John Smit, who played alongside Stevens at Saracens in the English Premiership, also expressed his delight with the signing.
"The versatility of Matt, [to be able to play] on both sides of the scrum, and his experience makes him a great acquisition to our squad," Smit said.
"We look forward to welcoming him to The Sharks family."
By Jan de Koning