Flip van der Merwe
Blue Bulls & Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been released from his contract at the Vodacom Blue Bulls with immediate effect.
While the Blue Bulls initially decided that Van der Merwe was necessary for their ABSA Currie Cup campaign, his call-up to the Springboks a few weeks ago negated this and they had to find a way to do without him.
The Blue Bulls initially were worried about a lack of experience in the team but their good start to the Currie Cup season, where they are still unbeaten after 4 Rounds has led them to back their youngsters.
When Van der Merwe didn’t make the cut for the Springbok squad to the Rugby World Cup, it was decided to release him from his contract so that he could further his career in France.
Van der Merwe signed with French Top 14 club Clermont Auvergne during this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season, at the same time as another Bulls lock, Jacques du Plessis, signed with Montpellier.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will announce an interim captain for South Africa on Tuesday.
Even though there’s been no formal confirmation, the fact that a media briefing has been scheduled to name an ‘interim’ captain confirms that current stand-in captain Victor Matfield will not play against New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
Matfield, who suffered a hamstring injury in the 1st half of last week’s 20 / 24 loss to Australia’s Wallabies in Brisbane, was standing in for the injured captain Jean de Villiers.
And Meyer has made it very clear that De Villiers won’t be considered this week.
So who are the candidates in the current Springbok squad?
The front-runners, surely, are Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss – with Bryan Habana, Patrick Lambie and Warren Whiteley at long-odds.
If you really want to stir the pot, why not throw Flip van der Merwe’s name in there – seeing as he is now ‘available’ again.
The Springboks have called Flip van der Merwe into their squad but are sweating over the fitness of Victor Matfield and Marcell Coetzee for Saturday’s clash with New Zealand.
Both players were forced to leave the field last Saturday against Australia – Matfield with a hamstring strain and Coetzee with a knock to his knee. According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts a call on the players’ availability in Johannesburg will only be made later in the week.
“Both are doubtful to play this weekend, but luckily neither of them are in doubt to miss the Rugby World Cup,” said Roberts on Monday.
“Jannie du Plessis and Schalk Burger also picked up knocks in Brisbane on Saturday and we will reassess them at our 1st training session of the week, on Tuesday. Apart from a lot of bumps and bruises, the rest of the squad should be fit for selection.”
The other injured players in the Springbok squad, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts and Frans Steyn are not yet ready to be considered this weekend, Roberts added.
Pieter-Steph du Toit joined the squad in Johannesburg later on Monday and his progress will also be reassessed. With only 3 fit locks left in the squad, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to call up the experienced Van der Merwe.
Flip van der Merwe is 1 South African who might have a point to prove when he takes to the field in a World XV jersey against the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday.
The towering lock is not in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and the coach went on record in May announcing that Van der Merwe was unavailable for international rugby.
After that it was reported that a ‘contract dispute’ may be the reason behind the drama, but Van der Merwe revealed in Cape Town on Thursday that there had been communication issues surrounding his availability.
“I’m not selected, it’s as easy as that,” Van der Merwe, who has been named on the World XV bench for Saturday, said.
Bakkies Botha will be joined by 3 South African Test players and 1 Ex-Sharks player who has formed part of the Springbok squad in the confirmed World XV squad for their match on Saturday 11 July at DHL Newlands in Cape Town against the Springboks.
The World XV squad boasts a combined total of 460 Test caps and represents 6 nations.
Rugby World Cup winning forwards Bakkies Botha (Toulon) and Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse) will be joined by the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ JJ Engelbrecht and Flip Van der Merwe, as well as former Cell C Sharks hooker Craig Burden (Toulon), a Springbok tourist in 2012, in the 23-man squad which will be coached by former Wallaby and Crusaders mentor Robbie Deans.
The match will be the Springboks’ 1st of the 2015 season before a shortened Castle Later Rugby Championship. It will be a stern test for Heyneke Meyer’s team as they start their preparations for the Rugby World Cup later this year in England.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Friday expressed their sincere gratitude and thanks to a number of stalwarts who will part ways with the Vodacom Bulls at the completion of the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.
Barend van Graan, CEO of the BBC, confirmed the departures of Pierre Spies, Jacques du Plessis, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Victor Matfield, Akona Ndungane and Francois Hougaard to French and Japanese clubs and retirement.
Spies (via Japan) and Du Plessis will join French club Montpellier, Van der Merwe moves to Clermont-Avergne and Potgieter to Lyon. Matfield will retire after the Rugby World Cup and Ndungane hangs up his boots this weekend as his contract was only extended for this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Hougaard leaves for Japan later this year and depending on a number of factors, will make a call on whether to return to Loftus Versfeld, at a later stage.
It was announced yesterday that Willie le Roux has signed for the Cell C Sharks for the 2016 season of Super Rugby, after agreeing to a deal that the Cheetahs were reportedly unable to match. Le Roux will play a short stint in Japan after the World Cup but will join the Sharks after.
It has emerged that a contractual dispute with the South African Rugby Union (SARU) is the reason behind Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe making himself unavailable for Springbok selection.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer earlier this week said Van der Merwe was “unavailable for international rugby at the moment”.
The reasons behind Van der Merwe’s unavailability were described as “personal”.
However, Van der Merwe and SARU are at loggerheads because the player feels he was done an injustice when Springbok contacts were awarded.
Unlike lock partners Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield and Pieter-Steph du Toit, Van der Merwe apparently did not receive a similar national contract.
This week, there is a lot of news, from various fronts, on the Springboks.
The Rugby Championship game times have been announced, as has the host city for the additional Springbok game against the Pumas in Buenos Aires.
News from this week’s Springbok Training camp is dominated by the amount of injured players at the camp as well as the news today that Flip van der Merwe has made himself unavailable to the Springboks in 2015 and also for the Rugby World Cup. The reports on the injury and rehabilitation of Springbok captain also comes under discussion, with the prognosis and likelyhood of him making the world premier Rugby World Cup competition very positive.
SARU also announced today that Rhino was appointed as equipment supplier of the Springboks.
Reports of a mass exodus from the Vodacom Bulls at the end of the season have been rubbished by the franchise.
According to weekend reports a host of Bulls – which include Pierre Spies, Francois Hougaard, Deon Stegmann, Akona Ndungane and JJ Engelbrecht – will head to Japan after the conclusion of the Super Rugby season.
It was billed as the “biggest exodus” since 2013 – when the Bulls lost 20-odd frontline players, including the likes of Juandré Kruger, Wynand Olivier, Morné Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Zane Kirchner, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dewald Potgieter and Jacques Potgieter.
However, Xander Janse van Rensburg, the High Performance Manager at the Blue Bulls Company, said that the facts of the reports are far removed from the truth.
“JJ and Grant have Japan clauses in their contracts,” Janse van Rensburg said, adding that the duo will head to Japan after the Super Rugby season, missing the Currie Cup competition, and will then return for Super Rugby 2016.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke reshuffled his pack of forwards and recalled Handré Pollard at flyhalf for his team to face the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Pollard, who replaces Jacques-LouisPotgieter in the only change to the backline that won against the Reds in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash last weekend, was rested last week as per SARU arrangement.
In the pack, Ludeke has Adriaan Strauss back after the hooker was also rested against the Reds, while he also picked a new loose trio, lock combination and front row to face the coastal side in the visitor’s 1st return match in the South African conference.
In the front row, Strauss and Marcel van der Merwe will start with Dean Greyling, with Callie Visagie and Trevor Nyakane moving to the bench. The lock combination of Flip van der Merwe and Grant Hattingh will pack down together for the 1st time this year, with Jacques du Plessis moving to the side of the scrum, where he will partner Deon Stegmann and Pierre Spies.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made 2 changes to his starting team that will take on the Reds in a Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss is given a rest in compliance the Springbok rest agreement with the 5e franchises and Callie Visagie will start in the No 2 jersey. This will be Visagie’s 1st start of the season. His place on the bench will be taken by Jaco Visagie, who on 2 previous occasions this season did bench duty.
The other change from the side that came up short in Johannesburg against the Emirates Lions is at flank, where a fit-again Arno Botha will replace Hanro Liebenberg. Botha recovered from a hamstring strain, with Liebenberg replacing Roelof Smit on the bench.
Another new face on the bench is that of Flip van der Merwe, who replaces Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg. Van der Merwe missed the 1st half of the season due to a pectoral muscle tear, but is keen to add to his 72 caps in the competition.
“It is great to have Flip back,” Ludeke said.
“He does not only provide a physical presence and some real grunt up front, he is also an important leader in the squad and with Victor Matfield out for a couple of weeks, Flip’s return could not come at a better time. “
The coach also opted to give Handré Pollard and Jan Serfontein another week off, with the latter also rested due to theSARU arrangement.
Springboks Flip van der Merwe and Arno Botha have returned to full training following a pectoral and hamstring injury respectively and will be considered for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Reds at Loftus Versfeld.
They will join the likes of Jan Serfontein and Handré Pollard, who missed last weekend’s clash against the Emirates Lions, but Victor Matfield will only know on Tuesday when he will play again. The lock, who has a meniscal knee strain, will see knee specialist Dr Daan du Plessis on Tuesday to determine how long he will be out of action.
Jesse Kriel (ribs), Burger Odendaal (arm), JJ Engelbrecht (pectoral), Trevor Nyakane (shoulder) and Jacques du Plessis (muscle spasm) all picked up light niggles on the weekend and sat out training on Monday, team doctor Org Strauss said.
All of them will be back in action on Tuesday, as well as Basil Short, who recovered from concussion.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd on Friday confirmed that efforts to keep Vodacom Bulls locks Jacques du Plessis and Flip van der Merwe in Pretoria have been unsuccessful, with both players taking up contracts in France at the end of the domestic 2015 season.
Du Plessis has signed a two year deal with Montpellier and Van der Merwe will join Clermont, also after the completion of the ABSA Currie Cup competition.
The BBC’s High Performance Manager, Xander Janse van Rensburg said talks with both players have been ongoing for some time.
This is the third article in the range of Bulls Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2015.
We move deeper into the enjin room to the Locks. The Bulls have lost Paul Willemse and David Bullbring at lock for the 2015 season but of course Victor Matfield is sure to play Super Rugby this time around, whereas before the 2014 season that was not the case. Apart from Victor Matfield, Flip van der Merwe and Grant Hattingh, the Bulls will be able to call on the promising young Nico Janse van Rensburg as well as Marvin Orie in 2015.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS in the Vodacom Bulls 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe says there is enough leadership in the team to fill the void left by Jean de Villiers.
The Springbok captain suffered a horrific knee injury in last Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff. He faces an extended period on the sidelines and could even miss next year’s Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.
While losing De Villiers would be a big blow, Van der Merwe feels there are enough leaders in the squad for coach Heyneke Meyer to call on.
“It’s one of Heyneke’s big success stories during his time as coach. He concentrated on establishing a leadership group. of which Jean merely acts as manager,” Van der Merwe says.
The Bulls were dealt a cruel blow just days into their pre-season, with confirmation that Springbok Flip van der Merwe is set to miss the start of the 2015 season.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke, confirmed that Van der Merwe will undergo surgery next Tuesday after damaging his pectoral muscle.
“It was a freak accident,” Ludeke said, when asked about the burly lock that was ruled out for the latter half of 2014 after suffering a serious knee injury during the second Springbok Test against Wales in June.
Springbok and Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe is only expected back on the field next year, but he’s already determined to make a positive return going into the next Rugby World Cup.
Van der Merwe suffered a serious knee injury during the second Springbok Test against Wales in June. He’s set to be sidelined for six months, which means he’ll only make his comeback during next year’s Super Rugby tournament.
The 29-year-old will miss the Springboks’ Rugby Championship campaign and end-of-year European tour, as well as the Blue Bulls’ Currie Cup campiagn.
Flip van der Merwe’s season ended with a whimper rather than a bang as the big lock was ruled out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.
Van der Merwe, who hurt himself in the closing minutes of the one-point victory over Wales in Nelspruit this past weekend, underwent a scan and was sent for a specialist opinion by the Springbok management on Monday.
And the news was not good.
The specialist ruled that Van der Merwe had to undergo surgery on his posterior cruciate ligament, and will therefore be out for six months.
Lourens Adriaanse (prop) and Stephan Lewies (lock) of the Cell C Sharks have been called up to the Springbok squad in Port Elizabeth, where they face Scotland in the final Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Series on Saturday.
Adriaanse replaces his provincial team-mate Tendai Mtawarira, who sustained an injury to his neck in last Saturday’s 31-30 victory over Wales in Nelspruit.
Lewies comes into the squad for Flip van der Merwe, who injured knee ligaments late in the Welsh Test.
Both Mtawarira and Van der Merwe underwent scans in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
The June Internationals are close at hand and Heyneke Meyer has already showed his hand to a certain extent by selecting a Springbok Training Group, which currently excludes players plying their trade in the UK and Europe.
The recent injury to Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, now determines that a “Stand-in” Springbok captain will have to be selected and coupled to this the Springbok midfield positions are bound to be re-constituted.
Injuries to key players, specially flyhalf, as well as the 3-match suspension of Adriaan Strauss at hooker will see some juggling around of the match-day 23 and some very clear thinking will be required by Heyneke Meyer to address these issues.
We take a look at the Springbok Captaincy candidates as well as midfield combination and look at hooker options to function as back-up to Bismarck du Plessis.
Regular Vodacom Bulls captain, Flip van der Merwe, is back at the helm of the team to face the Brumbies in a Vodacom Super Rugby match in Pretoria on Friday. Van der Merwe missed three matches due to suspension and is one of three changes to the side that beat the DHL Stormers two weeks ago.
Van der Merwe replaces Paul Willemse in the number four jumper while Werner Kruger rotates as tight-head prop with Marcel van der Merwe. Jacques-Louis Potgieter swops the bench and the number ten jersey with Handrè Pollard in the only change at the back.
Wimpie van der Walt makes way for Willemse on the bench. Ulrich Beyers also comes onto the bench in place of William Small-Smith, who is ill.
William Small-Smith will not train on Monday due to a stomach ailment, but both Piet van Zyl and Flip van der Merwe reported for training duty and will be considered for the Vodacom Bulls match against the Brumbies on Friday.
According to the Vodacom Bulls team doctor, Org Strauss, all of the squad are in good health and ready to take on the Australian conference leaders.
Piet van Zyl will not be able to take on his former Toyota Cheetahs team mates at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday as the Vodacom Bulls scrumhalf still suffers from a knee injury picked up on the Australasian tour.
The player will miss another week of Vodacom Super Rugby action as he recovers from his MCL injury, Vodacom Bulls team doctor Org Strauss confirmed.
Flip van der Merwe has been suspended for 3 weeks, following a Judicial Hearing, following a punch on the weekend, against the Waratahs!
Hearing Details: Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 08:00 SA Time, 16:00 AEST, 18:00 NZ Time
Judicial Hearing Chairman: Adam Casselden
Player: Flip van der Merwe
Date of Incident: 19 April 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow,shoulder, head or knee(s).
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 75th minute
Following initial consideration by the SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Jannie Lubbe SC, Flip van der Merwe of the Bulls will appear at a SANZAR Judicial Hearing after being cited for alleged foul play during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe has been passed fit to face the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday and will lead the team for their third tour match to Australasia.
This will be the first of two matches the Vodacom Bulls will play in Australia as part of their Vodacom Super Rugby tour.
Van der Merwe got injured in last weekend’s bonus point loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin, but has recovered sufficiently from his arm injury to lead the team.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke will know on Wednesday if he could select Jurgen Visser, Flip van der Merwe and Akona Ndungane for this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke included fit-again lock and regular captain, Flip van der Merwe, for his side’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes in Napier on Saturday.
The 67 cap lock takes over the captaincy and number five jersey from Victor Matfield in one of two changes to the starting pack that played against the Chiefs. In the other, Jacques Engelbrecht comes in at number 8, with Dewald Potgieter moving to the side of the scrum in place of Jacques du Plessis, who moves to the bench.
Vodacom Bulls captain Flip van der Merwe has been declared fit following a hamstring injury and will travel with team on their Australasian tour.
Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe’s hamstring strain will keep him out of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
Vodacom Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe has been ruled out of Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Cell C Sharks due to a hamstring strain.
His place in the team will be taken by Paul Willemse, who will move from the bench into the number four jersey. The captaincy will be taken over by Victor Matfield.
This is the third article in the range of Bulls Squad Contenders for Super Rugby 2014. We do 2 articles per week per South African Super Rugby participating franchise.
We discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS in the Vodacom Bulls 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers will captain the Barbarians in Saturday’s clash against Fiji at Twickenham.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has explained why he decided to not include lock Pieter-Steph du Toit in his squad to face Scotland on Sunday.