SPRINGBOK prop Pat Cilliers has joined London Irish from Leicester Tigers.
The 31-year-old, who has won six caps for South Africa, is comfortable playing at either side of the scrum and arrives having also played for Montpellier as well as numerous sides in his home country.
“It’s a new challenge for me and the club so I’m very excited,” said Cilliers.
“I’ve been speaking with Declan Kidney (director of rugby) over the last couple of weeks and he’s got huge ambitions for the club.
“For the first season the ambition is to get back up to the Premiership.
“There are some very young and exciting props here so hopefully I can give a bit of knowledge and experience to them and help out.”
Kidney added: “The Championship is a tough league and we need experienced forwards in our squad to meet the challenges in front of us.
“Pat fits the bill – he’s played at the top level of the sport for a number of years and will be a good signing for us.”
Meanwhile, skills coach Paul Hodgson has left the club.
The former Exiles scrum-half joined the first team coaching staff under Nick Kennedy in 2016 but is now leaving to pursue a career in education as director of sport at Surrey’s Cranmore School.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at London Irish, a club that is moving in the right direction under Declan Kidney and Les Kiss,” said Hodgson.
“During my time as a coach at London Irish I’ve enjoyed working with Nick Kennedy, Declan Danaher and George Skivington and they are very good friends of mine.
“I’ve also spoken at length with Declan Kidney and he’s told me that I will always be welcome back at the club.”