Marcel van der Merwe
Vodacom Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais named Springbok prop Marcel van der Merwe in his starting front-row and added Springbok midfielder Jan Serfontein to his bench for Friday’s ABSA Currie Cup match against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.
Marais also has Francois Hougaard back in the starting team after the scrumhalf missed last week’s win over the ORC Griquas due to personal reasons. He replaces Ivan van Zyl who moves back to the bench.
Hougaard’s return is the only change in the backline, but Marais made 3 changes in the pack. Van der Merwe comes in for Werner Kruger, who is rested and a fit-again Roelof Smit comes in for Jannes Kirsten at flank, with the latter moving to the bench. In the other change, Dean Greyling will be replaced by Pierre Schoeman. Greyling has a knee strain and with Schoeman fit and ready to go following a long injury lay-off, Marais decided to give Greyling a break.
Under 21 regular Schoeman will make his debut in the competition, but has played for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup.
Serfontein comes in for Dan Kriel, who will return to the Under 21 team.
Players who failed to make the final 31-man Springbok Rugby World Cup squad have rejoined their respective provinces for ABSA Currie Cup duty.
Out of the original 49 players named prior to this year’s Rugby Championship, 18 will either be available for their South African provinces or jet off to rejoin their overseas clubs.
This means Warren Whiteley (Xerox Golden Lions), Vincent Koch (Steval Pumas), Lionel Mapoe (Xerox Golden Lions), Cornal Hendricks (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Cell C Sharks), Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Western Province), Oupa Mohoje (Toyota Free State Cheetahs), Franco Mostert (Xerox Golden Lions), Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Western Province) and Frans Steyn (Cell C Sharks) can be considered for Currie Cup duty from this weekend.
Players like Heinrich Brussow (Docomo Red Hurricanes, Japan), Elton Jantjies (NTT Shining Arcs, Japan), Jaque Fourie (Kobelco Steelers) and Heinke van der Merwe (Stade Francais, France) will head for their overseas clubs.
Victor Matfield will captain the Springboks against Los Pumas on Saturday, with Zane Kirchner, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie, Willem Alberts, Marcel van der Merwe, Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane all getting their 1st starts of the season.
Jan Serfontein and Schalk Brits have also been included in the match-23 for the 1st time this season.
A total of 28 players will travel to South America on Wednesday to play the Pumas at the Vélez Sarsfield on Saturday evening (SA Time). The match-23 shows numerous changes from the side that lost to Argentina last weekend, many of them injury-enforced.
Kirchner takes over at fullback from the injured Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel moves from wing to centre for Jean de Villiers, with Lwazi Mvovo getting his 3rd run of the season, in the No 14-jersey. Willem Alberts replaces the injured Marcell Coetzee in what will be his 1st Test in more than a year.
Jean de Villiers will captain a Springbok side also featuring the return of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi in the match-23 for the 1st time since 2013, when the Springboks host Los Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
De Villiers will continue his remarkable recovery from the terrible knee injury he suffered last November in Cardiff and will start his 1st Test of the season. He will lead the team against the Pumas from outside centre, with Schalk Burger taking over the vice-captaincy.
As a result of De Villiers’ inclusion for the final Test in The Rugby Championship, Jesse Kriel will move to right wing.
“Jean’s comeback is truly remarkable and very inspirational and I can’t wait to see what he can offer playing next to exciting youngsters such as Handré Pollard, Damian and Jesse,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Jean now has 160 minutes of rugby behind him since his comeback a month ago and I’m very satisfied that he will be able to make his mark as player and captain.
“Jesse is a very versatile player – he has played at wing before and spent almost the entire Vodacom Super Rugby season at fullback. His aerial skills and work-rate, as well as tactical kicking will be valuable and hopefully he will be given even more space to attack in.”
The forwards on the bench are again rotated due to injuries and players recovering from injuries, which sees the return of Siya Kolisi and and Pieter-Steph du Toit, both of whom made their last Test appearance as replacements in the 19 / 10 victory over France in Paris on 23 November, 2013.
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.
Marcel van der Merwe and Dean Greyling will earn 1st starts in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby competition as Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke made 3 changes to his pack that will face the Western Force at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Van der Merwe and Greyling, who both made late starts to the competition due to injury, will swop places with Trevor Nyakane and Morné Mellett respectively. In anther swop, Grant Hattingh will earn his 1st start of the season whilst Victor Matfield will move to the bench.
The bench also has 2 new faces this week, with Arno Botha returning and Jaco Visagie replacing the injured Callie Visagie as hooker replacement. Should he take to the field, Visagie will make his Vodacom Bulls and Vodacom Super Rugby debut.
Botha, who was injured in the season’s opener against the DHL Stormers, is fit again and replaces Hanro Liebenberg.
Ludeke left his backs unchanged.
Vodacom Bulls prop Marcel van der Merwe has been cleared to return to the playing field and trained with the squad, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
The prop has recovered from a hamstring injury and ligament strain.
News on the injury of midfielder William Small-Smith has been less fortunate though, with the player being ruled out for at least 2 months with a foot injury.
The Vodacom Bulls will be without Springbok props Dean Greyling and Marcel van der Merwe and World Cup winning winger Akona Ndungane for the opening weekend of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition. The Vodacom Bulls play DHL Stormers on Saturday night, but Ndungane (calf, 1 week), Greyling (foot, 2 weeks) and Van der Merwe (hamstring, 3 weeks) will not be part of the action.
To complicate matters a bit more for Vodacom Bulls coach, Frans Ludeke, winger Travis Ismaiel has been ruled out for selection due to a hamstring strain and prop Hencus van Wyk (foot) will only return to training at the end of the month.
All of Basil Short (pectoral), Jason Jenkins (quad), Trevor Nyakane (contusion), Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (hamstring), Deon Stegmann (hip) and Jesse Kriel (neck) completed a full training session today.
Vodacom Bulls prop Marcel van der Merwe will miss the opening week of the Vodacom Super Rugby season due to a medial knee ligament injury, it was confirmed on Monday.
The injury occurred on Saturday in London, when the Blue Bulls played against English club side Saracens in a warm-up friendly.
Van der Merwe injured his knee and pulled his hamstring in the second half and will be out for 3 to 4 weeks, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
The Springbok prop was the only casualty in the match and Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke should have a fairly fit squad to pick from for their first match, against the DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on 14 February.
In the first week of discussion of Super Rugby squad contenders for 2015 (17 to 21 December), we will discuss 2 positions in 10 seperate Articles (Props & Hookers) – seperating 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 2015 Super Rugby group, and whether they could force their way into Bok contention.
Suggestions as to what to add to these Articles are welcome, but please hurry as the next Article will follow this one shortly!
The Springboks were dealt a double blow on Monday, when first Saracens hooker Schalk Brits and then Blue Bulls tighthead prop Marcel van der Merwe was ruled out of the End Of Year Tour (November Internationals) with a knee injury.
Van der Merwe was supposed to join up with the Bok training camp this week but hurt himself in the dying minutes of the Vodacom Blue Bulls loss in the ABSA Currie Cup semifinal against DHL Western Province on Saturday, and will miss the next four to six weeks of rugby with a medial knee ligament injury.
“He fell awkwardly in the last few minutes of the game,” Blue Bulls doctor Org Strauss said, “He has a grade 2 medial ligament tear, luckily not the same knee that has given him problems in the past, I expect him to be out for anywhere between four and six weeks.”
Following the elimination of the Cell C Sharks and the Vodacom Blue Bulls from the ABSA Currie Cup and the conclusion of the First Division, 8 more players have been invited to the Springboks’ training camp in Stellenbosch.
The Springbok selectors have invited Lwazi Mvovo, Cobus Reinach, Lourens Adriaanse (all Cell C Sharks), Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige, Marcel van der Merwe, Bongi Mbonambi (all Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Boela Abrahams, who starred for the Down Touch Griffons in their ABSA Currie Cup First Division final victory on Friday, to join 20 nationally contracted players and 4 others as the team start their preparations for what will be an arduous Castle Lager Outgoing Tour.
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.