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Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Wednesday, 27 April 2011 15:37 UK

Bath sign Springbok flanker Francois Louw from Stormers

Francois Louw
Louw has seven international caps for South Africa

Bath have signed Stormers and South Africa international flanker Francois Louw, BBC Radio Bristol understands.

The 25-year-old has signed a two-year-deal and effectively replaces outgoing captain and fellow Springbok Luke Watson who is returning home.

Louw is expected to be part of the South Africa squad for the World Cup squad and if selected will arrive at the Rec in December.

If he misses out Bath could welcome him as early as September.

Bath still intend to find an appropriate replacement for Springbok fly-half Butch James who is also heading home and according to coach Brad Davis their search is almost at an end.

If we can get our target I think the majority of the rugby world will really sit up and take notice

Brad Davis

"If we can get our target I think the majority of the rugby world will really sit up and take notice," Davis told BBC Radio Bristol.

"We're definitely well down the track and hopefully we can have some concrete news in the next few weeks."

Bath's hope of a "marquee" signing suggests whoever they sign will not be with them until after the World Cup in New Zealand concludes in October so will he hoping Olly Barkley makes a swift return from his broken leg to support Sam Vesty.

Speaking earlier in the month chief executive Nick Blofeld had suggested that All Black Dan Carter was on their shortlist

But with the Premiership salary cap remaining in place, and Carter likely to command one of the biggest pay packets in world rugby, it appears unlikely the All Blacks fly-half will be the man to fill James's boots.



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