Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
16 Oct 2013
7:00 am

Hundred up for Lions stalwart

Rudolph Jacobs

Lock Franco van der Merwe could hardly have picked a bigger occasion to play his 100th game for the Lions the Absa Currie Cup semifinal at Newlands against reigning champs Western Province this weekend.

FILE PICTURE: Franco van der Merwe. Picture: Backpagepix

Van der Merwe, 30, born in Paarl, has been a stalwart for the province since joining them from the Leopards way back in 2006. As a former captain, Van der Merwe has achieved almost everything, including making his Springbok debut two weeks ago against the All Blacks at his

Ellis Park home ground, and playing a big role with lock partner Wikus van Heerden in returning the Currie Cup to Johannesburg two years ago after a drought of 12 years. “The atmosphere at a full Ellis Park is unmatched and simply electric and to have done it against the All Blacks made it a dream come true,” said Van der Merwe, who has extended his contract by another two years, of his international debut.

“At the Lions we are all big mates and we play for each other. The cameraderie is special and you feel like you are part of a family.”

Van der Merwe is a vital cog in both the lineouts and the Lions impressive trademark rolling maul which was neutralised by Griquas last weekend, according to Lions coach Johan Ackermann.

*Meanwhile, the Lions have obtained the services of former Western Province Under-19 captain, scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder, 22, for the next two years.