Sale Sharks have confirmed the signing of Jean-Pierre Du Preez from Toyota Cheetas as cover for second-row, with Lood De Jager and Josh Beaumont, sidelined long-term.
The signing is the Sharks’ first deal of the new campaign, having had a relatively quiet offseason and Du Preez could be thrown straight into the deep in end.
Sale are low in options at the second-row as usual regulars De Jager and Beamount are both out with long-term injuries and Diamond made it clear in a recent press conference that a lock was a priority signing.
He said: “Simon, Jed, and I have spoken and we are actively looking at bringing a couple of players at the minute, a lock to cover Lood and another potential back-row forward so we’re always looking.”
On their new signing Sale Sharks spoke about the terms of the deal, saying: “The towering lock joins the Sharks on a two-year contract and will link up with the Sale squad at their Carrington training base with immediate effect.
“Jean-Pierre will be available for selection following completion of his mandatory isolation period upon entering the UK from South Africa.”
On Du Preez’s extraordinary height, Sale said: “At 2.09 meters, Jean-Pierre is the tallest player to ever be registered in Super Rugby and will be the second tallest Gallagher Premiership player in history.”
The Sharks continued to explain his career in South African club rugby so far, saying: “Du Preez started his senior career with the Golden Lions in Johannesburg, making his Super Rugby debut in 2015.
“He went on to make only three more appearances for the Lions before moving to the Toyota Cheetahs in 2018. During his time at the Cheetahs, JP made 26 appearances in both Super Rugby and the Pro 14.”
Sale’s Director of Rugby Steve Diamond is looking forward to working with Du Preez who is the latest South African to link up with the Sharks.
He said: “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.
“JP comes from South Africa with great pedigree and is a huge lad with a good skillset so I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do in the Gallagher Premiership.”