Leicester Tigers agree deal for South African lock Sebastian De Chaves
Leicester Tigers have agreed a deal to bring South African lock forward Sebastian De Chaves to Welford Road next season.
The 22-year-old is currently plying his trade in the French Top-14 with Mont-de-Marsan.
He has made 11 appearances, with three off the bench, for a club which also has former Tigers Seru Rabeni and Ephraim Taukafa on their books.
De Chaves announced on Twitter on Sunday that he had signed a two-year deal at Leicester.
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The 6ft 6in lock, who weighs in at 17 stones, is eligible to play for South Africa, Portugal and England.
Born in Johannesburg, his father is Portuguese and his mother is English.
He joined Mont-de-Marsan last summer following their promotion from Pro D2.
De Chaves has also played for South Africa Under-20s at the 2010 Junior World Championship.
The news that De Chaves is likely to be on his way for the start of the 2013-14 season has heightened speculation that Geoff Parling could be on his way out as his contract negotiations continue.
I understand, however, Tigers see the South African more as a possible replacement for fellow Springbok Rob Andrew, who may leave at the end of the season.
Other possible departures this summer are scrum-half Micky Young, prop Kieran Brookes and winger Scott Hamilton.
As well as looking at new signings, Cockerill has also been enjoying welcoming back a number of players from injuries in recent weeks.
Tongan Steve Mafi is back from a knee problem and is expected to be in the squad for Sunday's trip to the Ospreys.
Winger Miles Benjamin could return to action at the end of this month after missing the season so far with a neck problem.
While Tom Croft is back playing, and had 50 minutes at Worcester last Friday, Cockerill said the 27-year-old would not be in the mix for the Heineken Cup clash at the Liberty Stadium.
Leicester will have to monitor his progress very carefully after he spent almost nine months on the sidelines with an injury that required neck surgery.
"I don't have to rest Crofty but the medical advice is there and I am not prepared to take any risks with him," said Cockerill.
"We don't want to rush him and have been advised to go down the route of one week on and one week off."