South African prop joins this summer
Ulster have confirmed the signing of prop Schalk van der Merwe at the end of the current season on a two-year deal.
The 26-year-old will make the move following the conclusion of the Super Rugby season, in which he is representing the Southern Kings franchise.
Commenting on the upcoming new signing, Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss highlighted Van der Merwe's ability in the scrum.
"Schalk is a talented player who I've been really impressed by - he was the cornerstone of the Lions scrum that dominated for a couple of Super Rugby seasons," he said.
"In addition to his excellent scrummaging, he will give us some much-needed physicality in the loose, and this will be a major plus for us in the seasons ahead. He has a hard edge and he's determined to work hard to nail down a starting place here at Ulster.
"His arrival will give us much improved depth at loosehead, with Kyle McCall, Andy Warwick and Callum Black also on the books. As we've seen this season, injuries, particularly in the front row, mean that at times we're required to delve deep into our pool of resources.
"With the impending arrivals of Arno Botha and Schalk, the return to fitness of Marcell Coetzee, and the ongoing development of Academy players like Ross Kane, Aaron Hall, Tommy O'Hagan and Marcus Rea, we will have a much stronger roster of forwards to select from next season."
Van der Merwe has previously played for Montpellier in France during the 2015-16 season.