Lock Wilhelm van der Sluys has left the Exeter Chiefs to join the Lions for the remainder of the Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Van der Sluys played for Western Province and the Kings, before joining Exeter in 2017.
The English club confirmed that the Lions had approached the 27-year-old with a contract offer, which he had immediately decided to accept.
This comes after the Lions lost locks Franco Mostert to Gloucester last November and Andries Ferreira to the Hurricanes earlier this month.
Van der Sluys says while it is difficult to say goodbye to everyone at Exeter, he is looking forward to playing Super Rugby and contributing to the Lions’ campaign.
‘I’m excited about the new challenge. South Africa is home for me and it will be great to be back there. I’ll take what I’ve learned from Exeter back to beautiful South Africa and hopefully I will continue to keep improving.’
Van der Sluys hasn’t been given much game time this season, but Exeter’s director of rugby Rob Baxter spoke highly of his influence at the club over the past two seasons.
‘It’s a credit to him that he’s been part of a process that has seen the club thrive. In all the challenges he’s had, he’s remained a fantastic squad member, been very popular, and when he’s been called upon to come in he’s done very well and worked very hard and had decent games.
‘Personally, I’m really pleased he’s got a Super Rugby contract. It would have been unfair for us to hold him here and not allow him that opportunity. It’s good timing for him and it’s good that we have been able to work with him to take up that opportunity. I hope all goes well for him and wish him every success in the future.’
Photo: Exeter Chiefs