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Bulls pull Flip from Baa-Baas

  • 27 Nov 2013
Flip van der Merwe will no longer participate in the Barbarians match on Saturday Flip van der Merwe will no longer participate in the Barbarians match on Saturday

Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has had to withdraw from the Barbarians' match against Fiji at Twickenham.

Van der Merwe was set to start in the No 4 jersey after Eben Etzebeth picked up an ankle injury against France in Paris.

'Van der Merwe withdrew after not being released by Bulls. Short time frame to arrange replacement,' announced the Barbarians on their official Twitter account.

The Blue Bulls Company (BBC) said that the decision was based on a number of factors.

'This is a very important period of preparation for the 2014 Super Rugby season and a vital stage of our squad's pre-season planning, strength and conditioning. Even more important, though, is the management of our players after a very long season and as such, the heightened risk of key players getting injured can severely jeopardise our and their Super Rugby campaign.'

The BBC added that the Barbarians directly approached Van der Merwe to take part in the match, and then informed the Bulls that he had been selected for the team via SMS. The BBC then immediately contacted the Barbarians' organisers and informed them that Van der Merwe did not have permission to participate in the match.

The Springbok will be replaced by Irishman Mick O’Driscoll, who played for Munster and Ireland before retiring in 2012.

The change makes O’Driscoll the only Irishman in the team, which now features seven current Springboks, eight All Blacks, five Pumas, Samoa centre Gavin Williams, and Schalk Burger, who will make his fourth appearance in the famous black and white jersey.

Saturday's match will celebrate the centenary season of the Fiji Rugby Union and is a rematch of the famous game in 1970 when the Fijians defeated the Baa-Baas 29-9.

Barbarians – 15 Santiago Cordera, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Gavin Williams, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Mick O’Driscoll, 3 Matias Diaz, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Guillermo Ruan, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Willie le Roux.
Coach: Steve Hansen
Assistant coach: Mark Bakewell

DEBATE: Should Springboks be allowed to play for the Barbarians?

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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