Cape Town - Former Springbok lock Bakkies
Botha believes Flip van der Merwe can add value to the Springbok cause this
The Boks were dealt a major blow when
Victor Matfield limped off the field during the first quarter against Australia
because of a hamstring injury.
They did not only lose his leadership and
experience, but also his expertise at the lineouts as they proved to be
inconsistent at the set-piece for the rest of the match. This cost the team as
they went on to surrender a 20-7 second half lead to lose 24-20 in Brisbane.
With Matfield unlikely to recover in time
for the Springboks’ Test against the All Blacks in Johannesburg this weekend,
the Springboks are short of experience and lineout prowess in the second row.
This has seen veteran lock Van der Merwe
called up to the squad ahead of the big match. The 30-year-old was initially
left out because of a prior misunderstanding between the player and management,
but that has since been resolved.
Botha, who has played with Van der Merwe
for a number of years at the Bulls and for South Africa and recently trained
with the player in the World XV squad, believes Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer
has made the right call.
“I remember a very funny moment when the
Springboks played against the World XV two weeks ago,” Botha told
MyPlayers.co.za. “When Flip came off the bench for the first time, he
immediately went into the lineout. And on the Springboks’ throw, he managed to
sneak in ahead of Victor to steal the ball.
“That just shows the value Flip can add.
He’s played many games for the Springboks and his experience at the highest
level can help the team. He adds value as a No 4 or 5 lock, which is great
versatility to have in the team. He also showed great form during the
Springboks’ European Tour last year, making big tackles and offering the team a
quality lineout option.
“I’m not sure what the issues were around
Flip’s omission in the first place, but hopefully that’s sorted out and
everyone can move forward.”
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