Van der Sluys reunited with WP teammate
PREMIERSHIP NEWS: Don Armand will be reunited with his 2012 Western Province teammate Wilhelm van der Sluys after the latter signed a one-year deal with the Exeter Chiefs ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Van der Sluys was part of the Western Province Currie Cup-winning side in 2012, alongside as current Chiefs star Armand.
The 25-year-old forward heads to Sandy Park from the Kings Super Rugby side and becomes Rob Baxter's sixth new addition, joining the English champions along with James Freeman, Matt Kvesic, Tom O'Flaherty, Toby Salmon and Nic White.
Recruited by Worcester Warriors in 2016, his spell at Sixways proved somewhat short-lived, making just one appearance for the Midlanders in the Anglo-Welsh Cup before he enjoyed the odd loan game with both Rotherham Titans and London Scottish.
It was his displays in the Super Rugby competition that brought him to the attentions of the Chiefs, who have moved swiftly to bolster their back five options following the summer departures of Geoff Parling and Damian Welch, as well as the ongoing rehabilitation of key forward, Dave Ewers.
"I'm very excited to be here, I've only heard good things about the club and I cannot wait for the opportunity that lies in front of me.
"I'm coming to a club that is full of confidence, especially after winning the Premiership last season, so I can't ask for a better club to join. I know it's going to be a new challenge for me, but it's one that I am really looking forward to," Van der Sluys said.
Van der Sluys says seeing a friendly face in the Exeter changing room in the form of Armand was a welcome sight, but he says the vibe already in camp - plus chats with other South African players who have either played with or against the Chiefs - merely helped to cement his decision to move to the West-country.
"It always helps seeing a familiar face with a guy like Don Armand. He's done incredibly well for himself since moving here, but speaking to other players who are here in England, they say only good things about the club.
"They talk about them having good values, a great work ethic, so I'm so grateful to now be part of it," he added.
Van der Sluys arrives at the Chiefs having been part and parcel of a Kings side that caused its fair share of upsets during the recent Super Rugby campaign.
"That was my first real involvement of rugby at that top end level. Up until that point, I had played for Western Province and also for Maties in the Varsity Cup, but we had a great season and caused a few upsets along the way.
"I'm grateful to the Kings for the opportunity they gave me as it's opened up this chance for me now with Exeter.
"I've watched how Don has really taken his career on since coming to the Chiefs. He's a great example for someone like me of what you can aspire to. I know it takes a lot of hard work to get to that level, but as I said I am looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead and hopefully I can add to the strength of the squad here," he said.