Lock Ross Skeate signs up for Sharks to fill void left by Johann Muller

2010-06-16 00:00

THE Sharks have boosted their second-row resources by replacing Johann Muller with former Stormers and Western Province lock Ross Skeate.

The 27-year-old Skeate, who has just spent a couple of seasons with Top 14 French club Toulon after spending five years with the Stormers, has signed a two-year contract with the Sharks.

Skeate picked up a slight knee injury playing for the British Barbarians against England recently, but he will be fit for the Sharks’ opening Currie Cup game on July 12.

After leaving Cape Town two years ago, Skeate joined struggling Toulon on the brink of relegation and helped turn the club around. This season they played their way to the European Cup final and qualified for the Heineken Cup.

“Despite the team’s fortunes, I have a desire to return to South Africa and I believe that the Sharks have the right culture and team environment to continue my career,” said Skeate.

“It was a massive decision for me to take, but after meeting with John Plumtree and Rudolf Straueli, it was ultimately an easy one.

“The Sharks obviously have some excellent senior players together with exciting youngsters, and I’m looking to contribute to that mix.”

His arrival is timely, filling the gap left by Muller who has signed for Ulster, and will join Springboks Alistair Hargreaves and Steven Sykes, and Gerhard Mostert as the Sharks’ leading locks.

“He is considered a senior player at Toulon, as he was at Wes­tern Province, and we wanted his leadership qualities and experience. He’s a fantastic character,” said coach Plumtree.

“He is a mobile, versatile player, an intelligent person and we look forward to having him and welcome him with open arms.”

Skeate, at over two metres tall and weighing 115 kg, played for South Africa at U19 and U21 level, played for the Stormers and WP on 90 occasions and captained the team.

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