Pretoria - The Blue Bulls are on the verge of signing Free State Cheetahs prop Marcelle van der Merwe to join them as from next year.
According to the supersport.com website, the news comes a day after Die Volksblad reported that the Cheetahs had signed young Bulls prop Rossouw de Klerk for the next two years after previously signing midfielder Johann Sadie, who asked to be released from his Bulls contract.
Van der Merwe’s signature will be a massive coup for the Bulls in bolstering their prop ranks in a department where they have struggled too often this season.
The young Free Stater is highly rated by Cheetahs scrum guru Os du Randt and is seen as a future Springbok if he continues his impressive start to his professional career.
Van der Merwe will line-up against his prospective new employers this Friday when the Blue Bulls face the Cheetahs in their Absa Currie Cup outing in Bloemfontein, and it is expected that he will put pen to paper shortly after the match.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske confirmed that he had given up on trying to convince Van der Merwe to stay and the player had informed him he would be signing for the Bulls.
“I’m not sure if he has signed yet, but he has told us he is leaving us at the end of the season,” Drotske said.
De Klerk’s signature comes at a good time, and was preferred to another Bulls veteran Rayno Gerber, who also apparently went looking for a move to the Cheetahs.
The young De Klerk, who hails from Paarl Gym and played Craven Week for Western Province, has not received the opportunities at the Bulls he was hoping for and has fallen behind Frik Kirsten as understudy to Bok Werner Kruger at the Pretoria team.
With Van der Merwe leaving, and WP Nel continuing his career in Scotland, De Klerk will find ample game time at his new province.