Wicus Blaauw joins Edinburgh as Yapp secures exit

Former Stormers prop Wicus Blaauw is well known to new Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons. Picture: Getty
Former Stormers prop Wicus Blaauw is well known to new Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons. Picture: Getty
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THE “in” and “out” doors at Murrayfield continue to revolve with another South African prop being recruited to boost Edinburgh’s forward power as Welshman John Yapp heads out.

Yapp has joined London Irish on a year’s loan deal, while former Stormers and Biarritz loosehead Wicus Blaauw joins for two years, subject to passing his medical.

The 27-year-old is due to arrive next month with Edinburgh hailing “a wealth of experience forged in the top-flight competitions of the northern and southern hemisphere”, and terming the newcomer “an immensely physical front-row technician”.

Following compatriot Willem “WP” Nel, the tighthead who joined Edinburgh last season, the 6ft 2in and 19-stone Blaauw is well known to new Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons from his time in South Africa and he fits the coach’s desire to turn his new pack into a physically dominating force.

“I’ve seen a lot of Wicus,” he said from the team’s Loughborough base. “He’s played a lot of games at a high level, for both Western Province and the Stormers, as well as in the French Top 14 and Heineken Cup.

“He’s a very strong loosehead prop and is very good at his core roles, especially scrummaging, so I believe he will be an asset to Edinburgh Rugby.”

Born in Namibia but educated in South Africa’s Northern Cape, Johannes Lodewicus Blaauw launched his career with the Leopards in the Currie Cup’s first division in 2007 before joining Western Province the following season and establishing himself in the team that reached the 2009 Currie Cup semi-finals.

Blaauw made 57 appearances for WP between 2008 and 2012, and also stepped up to play 33 times for the Stormers in the Super 15 from 2009-12, featuring in the 2011 run to the semi-finals before suffering torn ligaments in a wrist that ruled him out of the following season. He scored eight tries and, intriguingly, one conversion, according to his South Africa Rugby profile, before recovering and heading to Europe a year ago and joining Biarritz.

He played 15 times in the Top 14 and Heineken Cup and is eager to be part of Solomons’ new era in Scotland.

“This is a great opportunity for me to immerse myself in the rugby culture in Edinburgh and become part of the rugby family at the club,” he said.

“It’s a new challenge and I’m really looking forward to bringing something to the team, while I also think it’s the right place to help me improve as a player.”

Asked what he would bring to Edinburgh, Blaauw added: “It’s always important to be physical and aggressive in this game at this level. I love scrummaging, I love running with the ball and I love tackling. These are all things you have to do well and are things I’m looking forward to doing for Edinburgh as part of solid tight five. If we [the tight five] can work well together as a unit, we can help lead the team forward and lay a platform that will help us improve as a club.”