Another Springbok off to France as a 'medical joker'

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Bulls prop Marcel van der Merwe (Gallo Images)
Bulls prop Marcel van der Merwe (Gallo Images)
Anton Geyser

The Bulls have allowed their Springbok Marcel van der Merwe to join French club La Rochelle on a short-term deal.

The 30-year-old will join the Top 14 outfit as a "medical joker" in a similar deal to the Lions on Tuesday releasing their skipper Elton Jantjies to join Pau.

A medical joker is a common term in French rugby for a player who joins a club as an injury replacement on a short-term basis.

Van der Merwe played seven Tests for the Springboks between 2014 and 2015.

He will be looking to help La Rochelle's title push as they are currently second on the Top 14 standings, trailing leaders Toulouse by only three points.

"The Blue Bulls Company confirms that Springbok prop Marcel van der Merwe will be loaned to French Top 14 club Stade Rochelais, commonly called La Rochelle, as a medical joker. We wish him well with his short stint in France," the Bulls said in a statement.

The Bulls are scheduled to play in the Rainbow Cup later this month but there are doubts over whether the South African teams will be allowed to travel abroad in the later rounds.

Several insiders have confirmed to Sport24 that British rugby authorities are wary of continued government restrictions preventing the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers crossing their borders due to Covid-19 fears related to South Africa's variant strain.

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