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London Irish sign ex-Springboks prop Marcel van der Merwe

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

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Declan Kidney had quickly ramped up preparations for the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership season at London Irish by unveiling the signing of Marcel van der Merwe, the 30-year-old tighthead who has seven Springboks caps to his name. 


It was 2014 when van der Merwe first broke onto the Test scene, coming off the bench against Scotland in an international career that featured just one start, the August 2015 Championship game versus Argentina which turned out to be his last cap.  

Having enjoyed successful club stints in his homeland with the Cheetahs and the Bulls, van der Merwe went on to make nearly 100 appearances for French side Toulon before returning to the Bulls and then signing a short-term deal with Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle that took him through to the end of a season that ended with the disappointment of Champions Cup and Top 14 final defeats to Toulouse.

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“I’m very excited. It’s a new chapter in my career,” enthused van der Merwe after penning the deal that will now bring him to Irish. “London Irish are a club that is moving in the right direction, so it is an exciting opportunity for me. The timing feels right.

“I have played English teams quite a lot throughout my time in France, so I know what to expect of the league and everything it throws up. I can’t wait to get going with London Irish.”

London Irish boss Kidney added: “Marcel is a key addition to the squad ahead of the start of the 2021/22 season. He will bring great experience and quality to our pack and will complement the existing players we have already got in the forwards.


“We are really pleased that he has decided to join the club and we are looking forward to him joining up with us in August for his pre-season.”


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