Newcastle Falcons have announced the signing of London Irish lock Sebastian de Chaves on a one-year deal.
The English-qualified 28-year-old has spent the past three seasons with London Irish, during which time he has helped them to two Greene King IPA Championship titles.
Born in Johannesburg and playing for South Africa Under-20s, the 6 foot 7, 120kg forward began his professional career with the Golden Lions before spending a season with French club Mont de Marsan.
Moving to Leicester Tigers in 2013, De Chaves spent three seasons with the Welford Road outfit before heading to London Irish, winning Players' Player of the Season in his first year at the Madejski Stadium.
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: "Sebastian gives us a big physical presence in the second row and is a welcome addition to our squad.
"He was a Championship title winner last season, he has plenty of experience of English rugby and he joins us in the week that our pre-season preparations got underway."
De Chaves said: "I have experience of winning the Championship in the two years that I've played in the competition, and I think Newcastle are in for an exciting season.
"It's obviously disappointing for the club to drop down a division but it's a chance for the team to re-set a little, and it's a different type of pressure.
"Everyone expects you to win every game, it's often hard to analyse the opposition and for every team you play against it's their cup final.
"It's that constant week in and week out grind of having to be completely on your game, but it's a great challenge to overcome and I think Newcastle are very well-placed to do that."
Asked what he hopes to add to the Falcons' squad, De Chaves said: "I'm someone who likes to run the line-out or to have some say in how it works, and the line-out is a big part of my game.
"Other than that it's basically just trying to get through a lot of work, doing whatever the team needs me to do and giving it everything."
Keen to get started in his new surroundings, he added: "I've played up at Newcastle a couple of times during my spells with Leicester and London Irish - it's a great stadium up there and I know first hand how tough it is for opposition teams to go and win at Kingston Park.
"It has that fortress-like feel, and it'll just be nice to be on the other side of that having experienced it as an away player."
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