LONDON // John Smit, the Springbok captain, is to join the English Premiership champions Saracens after the September 9 to October 23 Rugby World Cup on a two-year deal.
The Sharks front-row forward, equally adept at either prop or hooker and capped 102 times by South Africa, enjoyed a stint at the French club Clermont Auvergne after the 2007 tournament in France but will feel distinctly more at home at Saracens, where there is a large contingent of South African players.
"I am delighted to have signed for a club widely renowned for the ferocious work ethic and spirit on the field and for the unique way it treats people off the field," said Smit.
"It is becoming a very special rugby club, combining a cast-iron commitment to develop young English players with a clear South African flavour.
"I'm looking forward to rejoining former teammates like Deon Carstens and Brad Barritt, and also to working with players like Jamie George, last year's England Under 20 hooker.
Mark McCall, the Saracens director of rugby, added: "We are absolutely thrilled to have signed one of the most prominent and admired players in world rugby.
"John is an outstanding leader and hooker, and I am certain he, Roxy and their children will all thrive in our environment."