Leicester Tigers have signed South Africa’s World Cup-winning fly-half Handre Pollard ahead of the 2022-23 season, the English Premiership leaders said on Tuesday, to replace departing fly-half George Ford.

Pollard, who has won 60 caps for South Africa since making his debut in 2014, will join Leicester next season after leaving French Top 14 club Montpellier.

“The club is going brilliantly at the moment and I know there is an expectation to continue that, to keep getting better because getting to the top is hard but staying there is even harder,” Pollard said in a statement.

“There are bigger deals on the table, but I’ve made this decision to work with Steve [Borthwick] and to be a part of an unreal, great club at Leicester Tigers which has such a great history,” he added.

The 27-year-old joined Montpellier after helping South Africa win the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Leicester head coach Borthwick said: “Handre is a world-class fly-half who brings with him a wealth of experience from Super Rugby, Top14 and international rugby.

“He is a World Cup winner who has been highly sought-after from clubs all over the globe. But, most pleasingly, he sees Leicester Tigers as the club for him.

“What has impressed me most in our dealings with him has been his desire to be a part of what we are building at this club but also his desire to develop, learn and grow as a player and person.”

Last month, the club announced Ford will make a switch to Sale Sharks at the end of the season and has a signed a three-year deal with the Manchester side.

The 28-year-old has made 113 appearances for Leicester across two spells for the club since making his debut at the age of 16 in 2009. He also has 77 international caps for England.

Leicester are top of the Gallagher Premiership with a flawless nine wins from nine, and they kick off their European Champions Cup campaign against Union Bordeaux Begles on Saturday.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.