Bulls lock Flip van der Merwe left for New Zealand last night to join the Springbok tour party, following the suspension of Bakkies Botha.
Van der Merwe, formerly of the Free State Cheetahs, earned his first cap earlier this year and was somewhat unfortunate to be cut from the Bok group ahead of the Tri-Nations. Botha’s indescretion, a head-butt which saw him banned for the entire Tri-Nations, has opened up a spot for his Bulls teammate.
The young second-rower may even find himself thrust into the match 22 this weekend, as Botha’s replacement in the starting side, Danie Rossouw, injured his calf in training yesterday. Should the big man fail to recover in time, Andries Bekker will start the test alongside Matfield, with van der Merwe earning a spot on the bench.
The move creates a further disruption in the Blue Bulls ranks ahead of this weekend’s Currie Cup game against the Sharks. Already without 12 first-choice players (now including four second rowers), one of their most impressive off-season signings, lock Juandre Kruger, is also in doubt for the game, meaning that they may have to dig deep into their reserve stock in order to fill the second row this weekend.Tweet