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Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe to join Newcastle Falcons in the summer

Van der Merwe to join Newcastle this summer

TORONTO — Star Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe will join Newcastle Falcons next season in the top flight of English rugby.

The 30-year-old van der Merwe, currently with Welsh side Scarlets, has signed a long-term deal, according to the Falcons. Fellow Canadian Evan Olmstead is a forward at the Aviva Premiership club.

"I can't wait to get stuck in," van der Merwe told the club website. "I have been playing in the Pro 12 for eight years now, which has been great, but the chance to move to the Aviva 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."

Van der Merwe is a proven scorer. He has 23 tries in 42 international matches and took over as captain during last November's European tour after Aaron Carpenter broke his arm. He has 45 tries in 98 Pro 12 games with another 12 in 30 European Champions Cup matches.

The South African-born wing spent time with England's Saracens in 2007 before embarking on a successful run with Glasgow Warriors. He left for Scarlets after helping the Warriors to the 2015 Pro 12 championship,.

"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," Dean Richards, Newcastle's director of rugby, told the club website. "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."

Newcastle stands seventh in the league with a 7-8-0 record.

The Canadian Press