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Springboks call up Franco van der Merwe

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 Veteran forward Franco van der Merwe has been called up to the Springbok training camp in Durban following injuries to two of the locks in the squad, the SA Rugby Union (Saru) confirmed on Monday.


Van der Merwe, who is currently on loan with the Sharks from the Lions joined the training group of 38 players on Monday morning.


“Both Juandre Kruger and Flip van der Merwe are unable to take part in the field sessions, necessitating the call-up for Franco,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.


“There are a few players carrying niggles and we will manage them accordingly, but with Juandre and Flip out, we’re a bit thin at lock, which is why it was decided to bring in Franco, who has been part of a number of Bok squads since last June.


“Juandre and Flip will remain with us until Tuesday morning, when the training camp concludes, and luckily Franco has been part of the squad before, so he slotted in easily.”


All players will return to their franchises for the final round of Super Rugby action, ahead of the international break, after concluding the second Bok training camp on Tuesday.


The final Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series, involving Italy, Samoa and Scotland, will be named in Cape Town on Saturday evening.


“We don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the first Test, against Italy in Durban next Saturday, so to see the enthusiasm from the players at this camp is wonderful,” said Meyer.


“The work we’re doing at these camps will ensure we hit the ground running when we get back together for the incoming series on Sunday.


“Italy and Scotland both had very good Six Nations campaigns and will be tough opponents next month, while the Samoans are never to be underestimated.”

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