SOUTH African man mountain Ruan Botha has become the latest player to join Declan Kidney's revolution.

The 6ft 7in lock, who weighs 19st 5lb, initially joins Exiles on a six-month contract as cover during the World Cup, before returning to the club next summer after a stint with Japanese side Kubota Spears.

The 27-year-old, who joins from the Durban-based Sharks, has made 64 Super Rugby appearances and has also played for South Africa A.

Director of Rugby Kidney was delighted to add Botha's physicality to his options and said: “Ruan being available during the Rugby World Cup period is a major boost to us.

"He has a lot of top-class rugby experience and will also bring a lot more to the squad in terms of his leadership qualities.”

Botha is also looking forward to joining Exiles and commented: "London Irish are entering an exciting period in their history and I am immensely proud to be joining at such an important time as they return to the Premiership.

"I look forward to meeting up with my teammates for pre-season.”

Botha's acquisition follows a host of other top-drawer signings made by Irish upon their return to the top flight.

Big names include British & Irish Lion Sean O'Brien, World Cup-winning New Zealand wing Waisake Naholo and Australian internationals Adam Coleman, Sean O’Brien, Nick Phipps and Curtis Rona.

Scottish international prop Allan Dell and young tyro Will Goodrick-Clarke have also joined the club, along with Ireland fly-half Paddy Jackson.