SA lock ready to rock Pro12

Wed, 31 Oct 2012 18:22
Large izak vdw 630 Large izakvanderwesthuizencheetahs Large izak van der merwe v kings

New Edinburgh signing Izak van der Westhuizen declared himself fit and raring to go on his arrival from South Africa on Wednesday.

New Edinburgh signing Izak van der Westhuizen declared himself fit and raring to go on his arrival from South Africa on Wednesday.

A cornerstone of the Free State Cheetahs' pack, the 1.96m, 113kg second row forward started every game in this season’s Super Rugby and Currie Cup competitions, where he helped the club retain their Currie Cup status in his last outing.

Despite missing only 40 minutes of rugby in 30 competitive games (as well as three warm-up fixtures), the 26-year-old stalwart assured fans he's desperate to bring his match fitness to the club's cause in the Pro12.

Van der Westhuizen, who arrived with his wife Bonita, is the third southern hemisphere signing at the club this season, following fellow Cheetahs prop Willem Nel and former Highlanders centre Ben Atiga.

He said: “I’ve played a lot of rugby this season but I’m keen to meet up with the boys and get into action as soon as possible.

“I’m really excited to be here. It’s a new challenge and I’m looking forward to being part of a great club with a good attacking style.

“It’s often said that the Pro 12 and European Cup are the most physical competitions in the world, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it compares with my experiences in the southern hemisphere.

“I consider myself a pretty physical player, particularly in the tackle and contact areas, clearing out rucks and so on, while my line-out work is also something I pride myself on.

“I’ve spoken to Willem [Nel] since he arrived and he’s told me how professional the set-up is and how welcome he’s been made to feel.

“I’m really looking forward to my first match in the black and red of Edinburgh Rugby.”

Van der Westhuizen will undergo a medical at Murrayfield Stadium on Wednesday and is expected to be available for selection for this Friday’s match against Ulster at Ravenhill.

Profile: Izak van der Westhuizen (26) – lock
Born: 23/01/1986 in Kimberley (South Africa) - Height: 196cm (6’5”), Weight: 113kg (18st)
Rugby career:
Staats President Swart Primary School and Diamantveld High School
SA U18 development squad, University of the Free State, Free State Cheetahs U19 and U21, Free State Cheetahs XV (debut v Brumbies, 2010)

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Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 21 15 1 5 76
Munster 21 13 1 7 69
Cheetahs 21 12 0 9 63
Cardiff Blues 21 11 0 10 54
Ospreys 21 9 0 12 44
Connacht 21 7 0 14 39
Zebre 21 7 0 14 36
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 21 14 1 6 70
Scarlets 21 14 1 6 70
Edinburgh 21 15 0 6 68
Ulster 21 12 2 7 62
Treviso 21 11 0 10 55
Dragons 21 2 2 17 20
Kings 21 1 0 20 11
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