Schalk van der Merwe: South African prop will join Ulster in the summer

Ulster hope Schalk van der Merwe will strengthen their scrum next season
Ulster hope Schalk van der Merwe will strengthen their scrum next season

Ulster have signed prop Schalk van der Merwe on a two-year deal with the South African moving to the team this summer.

The 26-year-old will join Ulster following the Super Rugby season with the Southern Kings franchise.

The loosehead prop had a recent stint in France with Montpellier after playing provincial rugby in his homeland.

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

Van der Merwe earned 25 Super Rugby caps for the Lions in 2014 and 2015.

Scrum success

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

"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."

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