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Bok lock to replace Muller at Ulster

24th April 2014 15:19

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Franco van der Merwe Sharks v Lions SR 2014

Signed: Franco van der Merwe

Lions and one-time South Africa second row Franco van der Merwe has signed for Irish province Ulster.

Van der Merwe, who is currently sidelined for the rest of the Super Rugby season with an ankle injury, will come in as a direct replacement for another former Springbok in Johann Muller.

Muller is set to retire at the end of the season after a successful stint in Belfast, winning the captaincy and guiding the side to the 2012 Heineken Cup Final.

Van der Merwe spent time with the Sharks on-loan last season in Super Rugby before returning to Johannesburg with the Lions.

He made his only appearance for South Africa against New Zealand last year in The Rugby Championship, after being involved in the national squad for around 18 months.

The 31-year-old's departure will be a blow to the Lions, while Ulster will hope he can emulate Muller's success.

"We would like to thank Franco for all his contributions to Lions rugby over the years. We are grateful to have had a player of his calibre within our ranks," said Lions CEO Manie Booysen

"The management and staff of the GLRU would like to wish Franco and his wife all the best for their move abroad and their future prospects. We hope to see more of Franco in future and would love to have him involved in our structures, once more, in the years to come."

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