Sharks lose star lock Ruben van Heerden to English side Exeter Chiefs

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English Premiership side Exeter Chiefs have boosted their pack by announcing the signing of Sharks lock Ruben van Heerden for next season.

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Van Heerden, whos stands six-foot-six, is the latest addition to the Sandy Park-based side by director of rugby Rob Baxter who is looking to bolster his options up front following the departures of second-rowers Jonny Hill, Sean Lonsdale and Sam Skinner.

Alberton-born and Affies-educated Van Heerden started his career at the Bulls before joining the Sharks in 2018 where he was a stand-out performer in both Super Rugby and the United Rugby Championship.

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Ruben van Heerden will join an Exeter pack of forwards that already includes fellow South Africans Jacques Vermeulen, Jannes Kirsten and Aidon Davis.

Ruben van Heerden excited by the move to England

“This is such a big opportunity for me,” said Van Heerden.

“Speaking with Rob and hearing about the club, I knew I wanted to join straight away. Watching the Chiefs, you can see how hard they work for one another. There are no show ponies in the team, they graft for one another every game and that’s what really appealed to me.

“As I said, moving to England is a different challenge for me, but it’s one I’m really excited about.

“I know a couple of the guys [Jacques Vermeulen and Jannes Kirsten] already, so I’m sure that will help me settle in. All I’ve heard, though, is positive and good things, so I can’t wait to get started.”

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The Sharks will offset Van Heerden’s loss by the signing of Springbok Eben Etzebeth next season.





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