South African and Stormers tighthead prop Wilco Louw has agreed to join Harlequins as a natural replacement for Kyle Sinckler.
It was announced last month that Sinckler would be leaving the Stoop after nine years to join Bristol next season, and Quins have concluded their search with the sizeable Louw.
Capped 13 times by the Springboks, the 20st prop is the latest player to join Harlequins from South Africa.
Centre Andre Esterhuizen will follow a stint in Japan with a move to the Premiership, and as reported by TRP Pieter-Steph du Toit is on the radar of Quins head of recruitment, Ed Spokes.
For Louw, the challenge of playing in the Premiership is one he cannot wait to get started after five years in Super Rugby.
“I’m really stoked to be heading to England to play for Quins,” Louw said. “I’m really excited it’s Harlequins, if you ask any South African player, they all know Harlequins, its reputation is huge.
“I’m really excited for a new challenge and playing with some awesome, talented rugby players. Guys like Chris Robshaw and Joe Marler are characters that everyone around the world knows of so I’m really, very excited.
“This was a big opportunity for me, I think Harlequins play an exciting brand of rugby with awesome coaches. Adam Jones looks after the forwards and Toby Booth is there now too, obviously with Paul Gustard there it’s an awesome structure to play within.
“I’m really passionate about scrummaging and the forwards game, bringing physicality. The English league is a physical competition and it’s a long one so I can’t wait to get stuck in and play with Marler, Danny Care and all those guys, it’s a new chapter and a new competition.
“It’s such an exciting brand of rugby and after playing Super Rugby for five years I’m really excited for a new challenge. I think the English Premiership is an awesome competition and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it next season with awesome players.”
Like Esterhuizen, Louw was one of the players who played for the Springboks during the Rugby Championship last summer but would go on to miss the cut for Rassie Erasmus’s final World Cup squad.
And Louw, 25, is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces in south-west London.
“I’ve played with André (Esterhuizen) and I know the likes of Stephan (Lewies), so I’m really excited to already have a few friends over there and I’m really excited to make a lot of new friends at the club too.
“Gussy has told me to bring my own flavour to Harlequins and I’m really keen to get involved. When I spoke to him in Cape Town and he was really passionate about the future.
“The guy is full of energy and I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who talks about rugby and a club with that amount of passion and excitement. I thought he was like an Energizer bunny, you can’t get enough of it, I think he will just bring a positive vibe and I’m really excited to work with him,” Louw stated.
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