Springboks and Lions Super rugby lock Stephan Lewies has agreed to leave South Africa and play his game in England for Harlequins.
South African international Lewies, 27, is currently on loan with Lions but played the majority of his career in South Africa with Sharks, where he made 80 appearances having made his way up through the ranks, playing in the Currie Cup aged 21 in 2013.
His outstanding performances the following year meant that he was immediately recognised as a special talent and was called up to the Springbok squad, earning his first Test cap against Scotland at only 22 when he replaced Victor Matfield in a 55–6 win over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
Harlequins Head of Rugby Paul Gustard said: “Stephan is an intelligent and hard-working Lock who we know will add real quality at the Club.
“He will add to our lineout callers group – led by the equally lineout obsessed Beagle [Alex Codling] and will bring real clarity and ideas to an area that is critical to league success. In speaking to him I was hugely impressed with his temperament and personality and furthermore he has been highly recommended to me by my contacts in South Africa who testify to his character and drive.
“We have seen real tenacity and determination from the boys this year and we feel Stephan has illustrated that desire to compete and find a way to win. We are confident we can provide an environment that will see him succeed. It is a very positive signing for the Club.”
Lewies said: “This is a very exciting time for me, to be joining a club with such a great history and standing in English rugby but also one that is on a new journey with a new Head of Rugby who, like me, is incredibly ambitious.
“I am coming to Harlequins to win things and I look forward to getting started next season.”