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Franco van der Merwe

Franco van der Merwe

Franco van der Merwe

LionsSpringbok lock forward Franco van der Merwe has recovered fully from the ankle injury that forced him to miss much of the Lions’ Super Rugby campaign, and has been drafted straight in to the starting side by head coach Johan Ackermann for Friday nights clash against the Rebels at Ellis Park.

The big Springbok’s inclusion will add some most welcome steel to the Lions second row for the clash against the team currently 1 place below the home side on the combined log.

In is a game the Johannesburg based outfit will be desperate to win before faceing the Cheetahs in their final round robin game which may well decide the Wooden Spoonists of the SA conference, Ackermann will be hoping for a dispaly at least as intense as that which saw the Lions to victory over Gauteng neighbours the Bulls just ove a month ago.

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Lions Super RugbyThe Lions have named their squad for their difficult tour “Down Under”, which kicks off against the reigning chamions the Chiefs on Friday 2 May.

The noticeable absentee (due to injury) is Springbok Franco vd Merwe, who may well have played his last game in a Lions jersey if rumours of a move to Irish club Ulster are to be believed.

With the Lions line out having been somewhat shambolic in recent weeks, his experience will be sorely missed.

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Franco van der MerweDeon van RensburgCoenie van WykJohan AckermannLionsLions coach Johan Ackermann will be enjoying the fact his team has a bye this week but you could almost hear the relief in his voice when he said “the bye couldn’t come at a better time.”

According to reports, Ackermann’s team have surprised all in the competition with their four wins in six games thus far and their fourth spot on the Vodacom Super Rugby log, and while many don’t expect them to be there when the competition reaches its business end, for now the Lions are simply enjoying themselves.

They know they got the rub of the green with refereeing decisions in the last two games, but the luck they created for themselves also plays a major part in the self-belief of a team that everyone has written off thus far this season.

Saturday’s game against the Reds was a special win for Ackermann and his sidekick Swys de Bruin.

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LionsThis is the third in the series of the Lions 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 Lions 2014 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.

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Flip van der MerweFranco van der MerweThe Springboks were dealt a big blow when burly lock Flip van der Merwe was banned for one week and will miss the Rugby Championship decider at Ellis Park on Saturday.

A SANZAR judicial hearing found Flip van der Merwe guilty of contravening Law 10.4(e): Dangerous Tackling, which also constituted a breach of Law 10.4 (a): Striking.

The Bok lock was cited after South Africa’s 28-8 demolition of Australia in Cape Town at the weekend.

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Keegan DanielThe Sharks have returned to Mr Price KINGS PARK on Monday after their Christmas break and will continue building a fitness and conditioning platform from which to launch and sustain their 2013 Vodacom Super Rugby challenge.

While Sunday offers some fun in the form of the cricket match against the Sunfoil Dolphins at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, the Durban weather at this time of the year coupled with the watchful eyes of the conditioning and coaching staff means that this is always the hardest time of the year for Sharks players.

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Keegan DanielAccording to the Beeld website it has been confirmed that the Sharks will play two friendly warm-up games against two local sides as part of their preparations for Super Rugby.

Keegan Daniel’s men will play the Leopards on 8 February at the Woodburn stadium in Pietermaritzburg and a week later (15 February) they will face the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

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SharksIn this Article we look at the contenders for LOCKS at the Sharks 2013 Super Rugby group.

At Lock the Sharks have had their fair share of worries this past year, none more so than the semi-final and final of the Currie Cup 2012.

Anton Bresler and Jandre Marais along with Steven Sykes were the frontline jumpers but there always seemed to be something missing, and although the Sharks made both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup Finals, one glaring aspect of their play that at times was very troublesome was the poor line-outs.

This was due, one can assume, to various issues such as injuries to key players at critical stages of the season as well as just poor play.

The season of 2013 will see the Sharks with the same young locks accept for two changes – Steven Sykes has signed for the Kings and is returning to his family farm (Steven was a great servant to Natal rugby and will no doubt be sorely missed) and on loan to the Sharks for the Super Rugby season 2013 is Franco van der Merwe, who no doubt with his experience can help fill that void and add some much needed experience.

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In this the 3rd instalment of the Lions contenders, we look at the big men who perform in the engine room of the forward pack, the lock forwards.

Providing the grunt in the heart of the scrum, as well as the means to win ball in the line-outs, this group of BIG men are responsible for ensuring a continuous supply of quality first phase ball for the team.

Let’s open with the players who did the hard yards in last years campaign.

The next instalment will look at the ever improving and exciting loose forwards.

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