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Saracens in talks with retired Springbok van der Merwe - report

By Online Editors

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Former Springboks second row Flip van der Merwe could be coming out of retirement to play next season in the Championship with Saracens after the club recently lost second rows George Kruis to the Japanese Top League and Nick Isiekwe to Northampton on a year-long loan.


According to The Rugby Paper, the 37-cap Springbok has been spoken to by Mark McCall’s automatically relegated club with a view to see might he be interested in playing second-tier rugby at the age of 35.

Ahead of his June 6 birthday, it has emerged that van der Merwe is a player that Saracens would like to see playing at Allianz Park as they plot their way back into the Premiership following the messy salary cap saga that led to their demotion.

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RugbyPass reviews the 1997 Lions versus South Africa first Test in the company of Lawrence Dallaglio
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RugbyPass reviews the 1997 Lions versus South Africa first Test in the company of Lawrence Dallaglio

According to the report: “Saracens have spoken to van der Merwe to gauge if he has any interest in spending a season in the Championship.”

Having forged his career at the Bulls in South Africa, van der Merwe came to Europe to join Clermont where he flourished before infrequent selection during 2018/19 convinced him it was time to hang up the boots. 

He quit and enrolled at Cambridge University where he is on a two-year course similar to Australian James Horwill, the ex-Harlequins lock. They both played in last December’s Varsity match at Twickenham. 

When he announced his retirement last year, van der Merwe, who tips the scales at 118kgs, said: “The body helps you to say stop.


“You have to be honest, I cannot go on. When I see guys being sheepish… I can’t catch them anymore. It’s a hard decision to make in the sense that it’s something, there is emotion.”

Following The Rugby Paper report, van der Merwe tweeted a reponse to RugbyPass suggesting there was no plan to come out of retirement.



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