Sharks No 2 Franco Marais will play under the familiar figure of Johan Ackermann at Gloucester. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

LONDON –English Premiership side Gloucester have confirmed the signing of South African hooker Franco Marais from Super Rugby’s Sharks for the 2018-19 season on Wednesday.

Marais was part of the South Africa squad that won the World Rugby Under-20 Championship on home soil in 2012, before going on to make his Sharks debut that season in the Currie Cup.

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys said the club were “thrilled” to have captured the 25-year-old, who began the current Super Rugby season as the Sharks’ first-choice hooker and impressed in the opening rounds.

“He’s a player that has captured a lot of attention in Super Rugby with his work at the set-piece, and he is excited to be a part of what we’re hoping to achieve here at Gloucester,” said Humphreys.

“(Gloucester coach) Johan (Ackermann) is well aware of Franco’s qualities as a player and as an individual, and the way he has been progressing in Super Rugby. We’re delighted that he’s going to come and join us at Kingsholm.”

Gloucester are currently sixth in the Premiership table, four points behind fourth-placed Newcastle. The top four teams enter the playoffs.