Edinburgh sign South African front rower

Edinburgh Rugby have signed former Stormers and Biarritz loosehead prop Wicus Blaauw on a two-year deal, subject to medical examination.

The 27-year-old arrives next month with a wealth of experience forged in the top-flight competitions of the northern and southern hemisphere, and is widely revered as an immensely physical front-row technician.

His signing coincides with the departure of Welsh prop John Yapp, who has joined London Irish on a season-long loan.

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Alan Solomons, said: “I’ve seen a lot of Wicus (Blaauw).”

“He’s played a lot of games at a high level, for both the Western Province and the Stormers, in South Africa’s premier provincial and Super Rugby sides, as well in the French Top 14 and Heineken Cup.

“He’s a very strong loosehead prop and is very good at his core roles, especially scrummaging.

“I believe he will be an asset to Edinburgh Rugby.”

Blaauw launched his career with the Leopards in the Currie Cup’s first division before joining Western Province and establishing himself in the team that made the semi-final of the 2009 Premier division.

By that time Blaauw had already earned his first call-up to the Stormers Super Rugby team (2008) where, over the next four seasons, his set-piece power and bulldozing ball-carrying became an integral part of a formidable tight five.

The unit was considered the backbone of the side’s prominence of the time, and their journey to consecutive Super Rugby semi-finals in 2011 and 2012.

Blaauw then opted to broaden his rugby experience with a move to Biarritz, playing 15 times for the French outfit in the Top 14 and Heineken Cup, before securing his move to Murrayfield.

He said: “This is a great opportunity for me to immerse myself in the rugby culture in Edinburgh and become part of the rugby family at the club.

“It’s a new challenge and I’m really looking forward to bringing something to the team, while I also think it’s the right place to help me improve as a player.

“It’s always important to be physical and aggressive in this game at this level.

“I love scrummaging, I love running with the ball, and I love tackling. These are all things you have to do well and are things I’m looking forward to doing for Edinburgh as part of solid tight five.

“If we (the tight-five) can work well together as a unit, we can help lead the team forward and lay a platform that will help us improve as a club.’

Name: Wicus Blaauw (27), loosehead prop
Born: 08/04/1986 in Windhoek, Namibia
Height: 190cm (6’2′), weight: 122kg (19st 3lb)
Club history: Biarritz (2012/13), Stormers (2008-2012), Western Province (2007-2012)
International honours: Namibia under-20 (2004 and 2005 IRB Junior World Championships)

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