Sale Sharks sign SA’s tallest ever Super Rugby player

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English club Sale Sharks have officially announced the signing of Cheetahs lock JP du Preez on a two-year deal.

The 2.09m beanpole will link up with his new team-mates at their Carrington training base following the completion of his mandatory isolation period upon entering the UK from South Africa.

Du Preez is the tallest player to ever be registered in Super Rugby and will be the second-tallest Premiership player in history.

At 2.11m, Exeter Chiefs’ Will Carrick-Smith is currently the tallest player in the top-flight in England.

Du Preez started his senior career with the Golden Lions, making his Super Rugby debut in 2015.

He went on to make only three more appearances for the Lions before moving to the Cheetahs in 2018.

During his time at the Cheetahs, Du Preez made 26 appearances in both Super Rugby and the PRO14.

Commenting on Monday’s announcement, Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond said he was keen to see what Du Preez could do during his time in England.

‘We were hit pretty hard with injuries in the second row towards the back end of last season and with Lood de Jager and Josh Beaumont still out, it was imperative we found the right person to come in and ease the load in that area,’ Diamond said.

‘JP comes from South Africa with great pedigree and is a huge lad with a good skill set, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do in the Premiership.’

Du Preez’s arrival brings the tally of South Africans in the Sharks’ senior squad up to 11.

The other 10 are Lood de Jager, Faf de Klerk, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, the three Du Preez brothers (no relation) Robert, Jean-Luc and Dan, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Jono Ross and Cobus Wiese.

Meanwhile, according to reports, the Cheetahs are set to lose the services of two further players before the end of the year.

Flyhalf Tian Schoeman is expected to move to Bath in England, while hooker Reinach Venter is being courted by France Top 14 giants Clermont Auvergne.

The Cheetahs face an uncertain future having been cut from both Super Rugby and the PRO14 in recent years.

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