Rugby Championship

Bakkies: Flip will add value to Boks

2015-07-21 11:53
Flip van der Merwe (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok lock Bakkies Botha believes Flip van der Merwe can add value to the Springbok cause this season.

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 “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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