Exeter Chiefs have bolstered their squad ahead of the new 2017/18 season with the acquisition of powerful South African lock Wilhelm van der Sluys.

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The 25-year-old forward heads to Sandy Park on a one-year deal from former Super Rugby and now Pro12 side the Kings, and becomes Rob Baxter’s sixth new addition of the summer, joining the English champions along with James Freeman, Matt Kvesic, Tom O’Flaherty, Toby Salmon and Nic White.

Born in Paarl, van der Sluys attended the local High School before moving onto the University of Stellenbosch, he then debuted for Western Province in the 2012 Vodacom Cup.

It was his displays in the recent Super Rugby competition for the Kings 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.

The 6ft 6in, 103kg forward, said: “I’m coming to a club that is full of confidence, especially after winning the Premiership last season. 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 says seeing a friendly face in the Exeter changing room already in the form of Don 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 Westcountry.

“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.”

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Van der Sluys arrives at the Chiefs having been a large part of a Kings side that surprised many during their 2017 Super Rugby campaign.

“That was my first real involvement of rugby at that top level,” said van der Sluys. “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.”

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