Newcastle Falcons have added another proven top-level try-scorer to their squad with the news that Canada and Scarlets wing DTH van der Merwe is moving to Kingston Park this summer.
The 30-year-old qualified fire-fighter has dotted down 23 tries in his 42 international matches, and has been similarly prolific at club level.
A PRO12 title winner with Glasgow in 2015, Van der Merwe has plundered 45 tries in his 98 outings in the competition as well as a further 12 in 30 European Champions Cup games.
Known as DTH (full name Daniel Tailliferrer Hauman van der Merwe), the flying winger was born in South Africa but moved to Canada with his family as a teenager.
Initially moving to Saracens in 2007 following his Rugby World Cup exploits, Van der Merwe went on to enjoy a successful five-season spell with Glasgow Warriors which culminated in him scoring a try in their 2015 PRO12 final victory over Munster.
Switching to Welsh side Scarlets the following season and continuing his try-scoring form, Van der Merwe will join fellow Canadian international Evan Olmstead in the Falcons’ ranks after agreeing a long-term deal.
Newcastle’s director of rugby Dean Richards was delighted to have secured his signature, saying: “DTH is a top-class finisher who has been doing it on a consistent basis for club and country over a number of years now.
“He has played in three Rugby World Cups, he has averaged almost a try every other game in the Pro 12 and in Europe for the past seven seasons and he is precisely the kind of player who can help this club move up to the next level.
“We are a team who create plenty of try-scoring opportunities but have not always had that ability to finish them off. DTH definitely gives us that, and we look forward to working with him when he joins us ahead of next season.”
Van der Merwe said: “I’m really excited about this move for a number of reasons.
“I have been watching how the last couple of years have seen Newcastle showing a major improvement, and in particular the brand of rugby they are playing. That’s the kind of attacking play people want to watch, and it’s great as a player to be involved with such a fast-paced game on that 3G pitch.
“I have been catching as many of the Falcons’ games as I can recently, and it’s a really entertaining watch. I know there is huge competition in my own area of the team so I am under no illusions about that, and I can only improve as a player being in that kind of company.
“The pace and flair Newcastle are showing right now is creating a lot of opportunities out wide, and hopefully I can get myself on the end of some of those moves. That’s where I see my role predominantly, but I just want to be a good team player and make a contribution to what seems to be a really positive atmosphere up there right now.”
The Canadian added: “It has been outstanding to hear about the direction of the club and when I came up for my visit I was really impressed. Dean Richards is a nice guy to talk to and he has a very clear plan for the Falcons, and all the staff working under him have been extremely helpful in terms of the move. They’re all good people, and I think that says a lot about a club.
“I have got a lot of good friends already at the Falcons, so I’ve been given a good idea on what to expect from people like Jon Welsh, Tyrone Holmes and Evan Olmstead. My best friend is actually a Geordie as well, and it has all been positive in terms of the reports coming back about the club and the region.
“I live down in Mumbles at the moment down near the beach, but I also had six years in Glasgow and I think Newcastle is a bit of a mixture of the two. You have the big city, the coast and the countryside all close by, and it’s only a short journey to the Lake District where I like to spend a lot of my holidays.
“I can’t wait to get stuck in. I have been playing in the Pro 12 for eight years now, which has been great, but the chance to move to the Premiership is something I’ve been keen to try. People always compare the two and everyone will have their viewpoint on it, so it will be nice to judge for myself.”