Fri, 19 Jul 2019

Edinburgh confirm signing of Kings hooker

News24
25 Mar 2019, 22:13 GMT+10

Edinburgh - Former South African under-20 hooker Michael Willemse will join Edinburgh from fellow PRO14 side the Southern Kings, the Scottish club announced on Monday.

Willemse, 26, put pen to paper on a two-year deal and will join Edinburgh following the conclusion of the current PRO14 campaign.

"I'm truly ecstatic to be joining such a prestigious club with such a rich history," Willemse told Edinburgh's official website.

"It's an awesome opportunity for me to progress my rugby career. It's easy to see the professionalism as well as the upward curve that the team and squad is currently undergoing.

"Working with Richard Cockerill is something that I'm really looking forward to. I have no doubt that he will have a positive influence on my personal game and I look forward to learning as much as possible."

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill added: "Mike has got a lot of experience in Super Rugby. He's a very competent hooker that plays in the style of Stuart Mclnally.

"He's all-action, very good over the ball and extremely dynamic. Similar to the South African boys already in the team, we expect him to make a big impression on the squad.

"We're delighted to have him. We've got a good selection of Scottish hookers, but Mike is a guy who'll be with us all year round and will no doubt push everybody to the next level."

Willemse came through the ranks at the Eastern Province Kings, while playing Varsity Cup rugby with UCT Ikey Tigers - scoring three tries in six starts.

Following the conclusion of the 2013 Varsity Cup, Willemse was called up to Western Province's Vodacom Cup squad where he made his first team debut against Argentinian side Pampas XV.

Willemse made his Currie Cup debut during the same campaign as he came off the bench against the Sharks. The hooker was named in the Stormers Super Rugby squad for the 2014/15 season.

The Cape Town native joined current club Southern Kings in 2017 and has thus far made 36 appearances for the Port Elizabeth outfit, scoring five tries.

Willemse has represented South Africa at under-20 level, where he scored two tries in three appearances at the 2013 Junior World Championship held in France.

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