With South African sides set to enter EPCR tournaments in 2022 after a landmark expansion, we spotlight those players from the country who have already played for clubs in the Heineken Champions Cup. Next up is Harlequins’ Springbok contingent.

André Esterhuizen

The powerful 28-year-old inside centre has been a huge presence for the Gallagher Premiership club since joining them from the Durban-based Sharks towards the end of the 2019/20 season.

He was already a South African international, having made his debut for the Springboks in Rassie Erasmus’ first Test in charge of the Springboks against Wales in Washington in 2018, but has played only seven more Tests since.

However, Esterhuizen quickly established himself as a Harlequins starter and ended his first season there by scoring a try in their Premiership Final victory over Exeter Chiefs in 2021. He went on to notch two tries in five Heineken Champions Cup games last term.

Tyrone Green

Green is a more recent recruit than Esterhuizen, having joined Quins from the Johannesburg-based Lions ahead of the 2020/21 Premiership season, and like the centre, signed a long-term contract last term.

Massively versatile, the 24-year-old can play at fly-half, centre, full-back or wing thanks to his pace, which helped him score eight tries in a dream first season for the London club, culminating in that Premiership title.

The South Africa under-20 international has made four European appearances – one in the EPCR Challenge Cup in 2020/21 and then three in the Heineken Champions Cup last season, which included a try against Cardiff Rugby.

Simon Kerrod

The 29-year-old prop joined Harlequins from Worcester Warriors ahead of the 2019/20 season, having spent two seasons with the Midlands club.

Kerrod left South Africa back in 2016, following stints at Sharks, EP Kings and Border Bulldogs, and signed for Jersey Reds. Indeed, he is now qualified for England and was called up to the senior squad by Eddie Jones in October 2020, although he is yet to make his Test debut.

He has made 22 appearances across both European competitions split equally across both Premiership clubs. They comprise 11 in the EPCR Challenge Cup for Worcester, plus 10 in the Heineken Champions Cup and one in the Challenge Cup for Harlequins.

Wilco Louw

Another South African prop at the Twickenham Stoop, Louw joined Harlequins from the Stormers in time for the resumption of the Covid-hit 2019/20 season.

The 28-year-old has played 14 Tests for the Springboks after making his debut in 2017, playing for Boland Cavaliers, Blue Bulls, Western Province and RC Toulon as well as the Stormers prior to his move to England.

Louw has been used sparingly in EPCR competitions so far, making just four appearances in the Heineken Champions Cup across two seasons, but he did score a try in Quins’ Premiership final success in 2021.

Stephan Lewies

Lewies has skippered Harlequins since 2020/21, after joining the club ahead of the 2019/20 season from Lions, and he made an immediate mark by leading Quins to the Premiership title.

The second row played the majority of his South African career with Sharks, prior to a short stint with Japanese outfit Kamaishi Seawaves, and gained a solitary Springboks cap as a replacement in 2014.

The 30-year-old lock has five Heineken Champions Cup appearances to his name so far in two seasons, plus one try, against Ulster Rugby in 2019.

Irné Herbst

The lock signed from Benetton Rugby ahead of this season, having spent five years at the Italian outfit, racking up 18 appearances in EPCR competitions and crossing for a try in last season’s EPCR Challenge Cup.

Herbst, 29, has had spells at Southern Kings and Bulls in his home country, and featured five times for South Africa U20s in 2013.