Premiership: Sale Sharks snap up Stormers lock who is ‘captain material’

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Ernst van Rhyn Credit: Alamy
Ernst van Rhyn Credit: Alamy

Sale Sharks have announced the signing of former Junior Springbok captain Ernst van Rhyn, who will join them from the Stormers ahead of next season.

The 25-year-old, who can play as a lock or in the back-row has agreed a three-year contract, will add extra muscle to Alex Sanderson’s squad ahead of 2023/24.

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Van Rhyn is 6’3″ and weighs over 18 stone and has made a name for himself with the Stormers, running out for his 50th appearance against Harlequins in April.

Knows Cobus Wiese well

He is a former team-mate of Sale forward Cobus Wiese at both domestic and international level, with the pair also playing in the South Africa U20s side in 2016.

“I’m really excited about this move,” Van Rhyn told the club’s website. “Sale have a quality team full of world class players and I can’t wait to play with guys like the Curry and Du Preez brothers. I really feel like we can achieve great things together in the years ahead.

“I spoke to Cobus before making my decision and the fact that there will be familiar faces and familiar voices at the club was definitely a factor.

“But more importantly, at this stage of my career, I felt like I really wanted to try a new environment and a new culture to grow as a rugby player but also as a person. I really want to keep pushing and challenging myself and the environment at Sale is the perfect place to do that.

“I chatted to Alex on the phone and it was clear that his philosophies match mine. It’s about rugby but I know that Sale is a club where they care about the individual too. My fiance and I can’t wait to get over there and get started.”

Director of rugby Sanderson said: “We have a good track record of recruiting really good, young, aggressive, physical South African back five players and I’m confident we’ve got another one here in Ernst.

More South African steel

“He’s a really good player, but more importantly, he’s a really good character. He’s captain material and he’s been a leader in every team he’s played in and that’s testament to the kind of person he is.

“He lived with Cobus Wiese and I think they are forged from the same South African steel. They’re hard-working, tough and young enough to keep on improving.

“He is joining us at a really good point in our growth as a squad, and I think we’re getting him at the same stage in his development.”

Newcastle announce signing

Elsewhere in the Premiership, Coventry full-back Louis Brown has signed a two-year deal with Newcastle Falcons.

The 25-year-old has been a mainstay of a Coventry side currently placed third in the Championship with 16 wins and one draw from their 21 games, making 43 appearances during his three seasons in the West Midlands.

“First and foremost, I’m really looking forward to the move and I’m excited about being a Newcastle Falcons player,” said Brown.

“I’ve had three good seasons at Coventry which I’ve really enjoyed, and I’m ready to take on this new challenge of proving myself at the top level. That’s where I ultimately want to be, and I’ve only heard good things about the club and the city.”

READ MORE: United Rugby Championship: South African review for season two in the north

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