Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby journalist
1 minute read
3 Apr 2014
9:00 am

Big Schalk up for challenge

Rudolph Jacobs

On Saturday he will look mean All Black prop Owen Franks square in the eye, but powerful Lions prop Schalk van der Merwe is not trembling about the daunting prospect.

FILE PICTURE: Schalk van der Merwe. Picture: Lee Warren / Gallo Images

Van der Merwe, one of the success stories in an impressive Lions scrum, said yesterday their Super Rugby match against the Crusaders will pose a big challenge, but one that they are up to.

“For us it is about scrumming as a unit. I can’t scrum against eight guys, so it is about doing my job properly, and doing it together,” said the 116kg Van der Merwe.

“Make no mistake, the Crusaders haven’t won seven titles for nothing, they are still an impressive side and we will have to wake up and not chase the game again.” he said.

But Franks is just another big name Van der Merwe, 23, had to face this year and he has yet to be found wanting.

“The Blues and the Reds also had impressive scrums, but it’s probably Jannie du Plessis from the Sharks who gave me the biggest challenge, the experienced guys have a lot more tricks up their sleeve,” he chuckled.

“We are certainly happy with our performance but as soon as you start thinking you are the man – that’s when you get smashed.”

Lured from the Cheetahs last year after he didn’t get enough game time behind Springboks Coenie Oosthuizen and Trevor Nyakane, Van der Merwe has more than just repaid the confidence shown in him by Lions coach Johan Ackermann.

“What has worked well for is when Corne (Fourie) and Ruan (Dreyer) get send up in the second half.

“You simply don’t want to let your team-mates or coaches down. We are all like brothers, but we also know this is only the seventh game and we are still growing as a team every week,” he enthused.