The Cell C Sharks are continuing to raid the ranks of the Toyota Cheetahs, with loose forward Philip van der Walt the latest capture.
It was confirmed that the 25-year-old, who had just returned from a stint with Biarritz in France, will join up with the Sharks before the start of the Currie Cup season in August.
Christoffel Philippus van der Walt, who played 80-odd games for the Cheetahs (Super Rugby) and Free State (Currie Cup), moved to Biarritz in 2014 – where he made 22 appearances.
Biarritz, with a rich history in French and European competitions, were crowned French champions 5 times – 1935, 1939, 2002, 2005 and 2006. They also beat Top 14 rivals Toulon 21 / 18 in the 2012 European Challenge Cup (secondary competition) in 2012.
However, Biarritz went into a major slump during the 2013 / 2014 Top 14 season and ended up being relegated to the Pro D2 (Second Division) for the 2014 / 2015 season.
The signing of Van der Walt is another coup for the Sharks, who are in the process of ‘rebuilding’ the team under the guidance of Director of Rugby Gary Gold – with several season players set to depart after this year’s World Cup.
Toyota Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské has named his team to take on Australian conference leaders the Brumbies in the Super Rugby clash in the Canberra on Saturday.
Drotské has made no less than 8 changes to the starting line-up, as well as positional shifts to his loose forward trio.
Fullback Willie le Roux, centres Johann Sadie and Francois Venter, scrumhalf Tian Meyer, lock Carl Wegner, hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld, and props Coenie Oosthuizen and Danie Minnie are all new faces in the starting team from the one which lost 37 / 27 to the Chiefs in Hamilton last weekend.
In what is fast become a rout, and a crisis for not only the Cheetahs, but also for South African Rugby, another promising lock has signed a contract to play in Europe for the next two years.