Marcel van der Merwe
The scrumming travails that dominated the headlines and media copy after the two Castle Rugby Championship matches against Argentina are now behind the Springboks and quickly receding from memory, according to their scrum coach Pieter de Villiers.
The unedifying sight of the much vaunted Bok scrum backpedalling in the Salta match against the Pumas, as well to some extent as the game before that at Loftus, precipitated a wave of panic among South African supporters.
The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd confirmed that three incumbent Springboks, Jan Serfontein, Handre Pollard and Marcel van der Merwe extended their commitments to the Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Blue Bulls.
Serfontein (2017), Van der Merwe (2016) and Pollard (2017) all confirmed or extended their contracts with the BBC.
Van der Merwe made his international debut for the Springboks against Scotland last weekend and according to the Manager: High Performance at the BBC, Xander Janse van Rensburg, a true reflection of the abilities of the prop.
Junior Springbok captain Handré Pollard is one of five uncapped players who have been named in the Springboks’ match-23 for Saturday’s final encounter of the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
In total, the Springbok starting team shows six changes from the side which beat Wales by 31-30 in Nelspruit last weekend.
The four uncapped players on a new-look bench are Marcel van der Merwe (prop), Stephan Lewies (lock), Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward) and Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf). Also on the bench are Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Francois Hougaard and Zane Kirchner, none of whom have played any Test rugby yet this season.
Two players, Pollard and Marcell Coetzee, have not yet featured for the Springboks this year, while four of these are replacements who have been promoted to the starting team, namely Lwazi Mvovo, Schalk Burger, Lood de Jager and Coenie Oosthuizen.
Seven uncapped players, Damian de Allende, Lood de Jager, Cornal Hendricks, Teboho Mohoje, S’bura Sithole, Marcel van der Merwe and Callie Visagie, have been called up to Springbok duty as part of a 36-man squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series next month.
The squad also includes experienced World Cup winners Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield, while there is a return to the Springboks for Schalk Brits, Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Lwazi Mvovo and Frans Steyn, all of whom last played Test rugby in 2012.
The national selectors have also kept a great deal of continuity. In total, 12 players who started the final Test of 2013, where the Springboks beat France in Paris for the first time in 16 years, have been retained in the squad.
However, notable omissions include Springbok captain and SARU’s Player of the Year in 2013, Jean de Villiers, who is out with a knee injury, and the Young Player of the Year for the last two seasons and IRB Player of the Year nominee last year, Eben Etzebeth, who has been given more time to fully recover from the foot injury which has kept him sidelined this entire season.
The Springboks will also be without one of their vice-captains, Adriaan Strauss, who has been suspended for three matches as well as the experienced Jaque Fourie, who started all three Tests last November but has been ruled out with an ankle injury and Pat Lambie, a regular member of the squad for the last two years.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made three changes to his starting pack of forwards for Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Lions at Ellis Park.
Jacques Engelbrecht moves from the bench to start at No 8, with Grant Hattingh moving to lock in place of Victor Matfield who is rested. In another rotational swop, Marcel van der Merwe will start at tight head, with Werner Kruger playing off the bench.
Wimpie van der Walt replaces Engelbrecht on the bench, where there is also a return for Louis Fouché. The flyhalf will replace Handré Pollard, who is captaining the Junior Springboks in New Zealand. William Small-Smith is also back after illness and replaces Ulrich Beyers on the bench.
Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke tweaked his backline with a new midfield combination for their Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Toyota Cheetahs and changed his front row, but stuck with almost the same match 23 that came up short against the Force in Perth last weekend.
Ludeke included Junior World Cup winning players William Small-Smith and Handre Pollard in the starting team for the first time this season and also gave prop Marcel van der Merwe a first start for the match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Vodacom Bulls have dismissed worries about the quality of their scrum ahead of this year’s Vodacom Super Rugby series.
Eyebrows were raised after Saturday’s pre-season loss to the Stormers, and while the team have pronounced themselves happy with their performance in the 26 / 19 loss, a question mark still hangs over the set piece.
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar welcomes back a fit-again Francois Venter to his midfield ahead of their Absa Currie Cup clash against Toyota Free State Cheetahs and will give Jacques Engelbrecht a first start in the blue jersey.
Die Vodacom Bulls se mees ervare speler nog, Mornè Steyn, is terug in die beginspan wat Saterdag op Loftus Versfeld teen die Sharks in ‘n Vodacom Super Rugby-wedstryd speel.
Zane Kirchner, Callie Visagie, Jan Serfontein and Marcel van der Merwe should all be available for selection when the Vodacom Bulls take on the Highlanders at Loftus Versfeld in two weeks’ time, after their bye weekend.
In the first week of discussion of Super Rugby squad contenders (17 to 23 December), we will discuss 2 positions in seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) and also seperate the Articles of the 5 SA Super Rugby participating franchises.
That means 10 Super Rugby Articles every week from now on.
The basic idea is to discuss the players IN the Super Rugby Group, and not all the options beyond that.
In this Article we look at the contenders for PROPS in the Vodacom Bulls 2013 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
The silly season is truly upon us, with players moving like pieces on a chess board. Promising young Bulls tighthead prop, Rossouw de Klerk will join the Toyota Free State Cheetahs for 2 years, at the end of the current Currie Cup competition. The loss of de Klerk is likely to be offset, by the Bulls signing of young Marcel van der Merwe. Apparently Rayno Gerber was also attempting to get onto the the Cheetahs player list. Naka has signed Ross Geldenhuys, and Pieter Stemmet, to cover the departure of WP Nel, but they have been signed fr the CC only thus far.
With Coenie Oosthuizen out injured, and Phillip van der Walt being rested, the chances are good that Marcel van der Merwe, who had a stellar Vodacom Cup tournament for the Cheetahs, and promising young flanker Lappies Labuschagne will get selected for the weekends clash with the Bulls.
Hello all, I have been coerced into being a contributing author on Rugby-Talk, providing a Cheetah perspective on all things rugby! This is new territory for me, but in the interests of Cheetahs supporters, and the growth of Rugby-Talk, I will give it a good old whirl.
In today’s Article, I will look at the possible contenders for props in the Cheetahs 2012 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention. I encourage all to differ from me, as that is what we all blog for. However, let’s avoid the personal diatribes.
I wrote a piece a few months ago entitled : “Most enjoyable Test against England”. It was an Article about two Test matches South Africa played against England in 1984.
Danie Gerber scored 4 tries in the two Tests; overall South Africa crossed the English goal line 9 times.