Why Bulls blocked BaaBaas request
The Barbarians have suffered a setback, with confirmation that Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has withdrawn from the team to play Fiji.
The Barbarians have suffered a setback, with confirmation that Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has withdrawn from the team to play Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.
The BaaBaas confirmed the news overnight, on the social media network twitter, saying that Irishman Mick O'Driscoll has replaced Van der Merwe.
It was confirmed that the Blue Bulls Company turned down the "request" from the Barbarians Football Club to release the Bok stalwart.
Barend van Graan, Chief Executive Officer at the BBC, confirmed to this website that none of their players have been released for the BaaBaas game.
"The players need a break, as it has been a very long year," Van Graan said, adding that pre-season preparations also played a role.
"It is the first time in years that [coach] Frans Ludeke will get a decent pre-season with all the players," the Bulls boss told this website.
"It was a decision, based on principle, made in the best interest of the [Bulls] team," Van Graan told this website.
It has also been confirmed that the Barbarians FC had earlier requested a release for Bulls Bok JJ Engelbrecht - a request sent via the South African Rugby Union and which was declined.
However, the "invitation" for Van der Merwe was not forwarded via the official channels (SARU and the BBC) and was given directly to the player, and also via an SMS TO his employers, the BBC.
The BBC responded to this request, via SMS, and informed the BFC that they will not be releasing the Bok lock.
This invitation, on Sunday, came after fellow Bok Eben Etzebeth withdrew from the BaaBaas team as a result of an ankle injury sustained in South Africa's 19-10 win over France at the weekend.
The Bulls, on principle, informed the player that he will not be released to play for the BaaBaas and should report for pre-season training.
The withdrawal of Van der Merwe means there are now just six Boks in the BaaBaas' starting XV - Bok captain Jean de Villiers (who will also skipper the team at Twickenham), flyhalf Patrick Lambie, No.8 Duane Vermeulen, flank Schalk Burger, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and prop Tendai Mtawarira.
Prop Coenie Oosthuizen and utility back Willie le Roux are on the bench.
Van der Merwe withdrew after not being released by Bulls. Short time frame to arrange replacement. #baabaas— Barbarian FC (@Barbarian_FC) November 26, 2013
Barbarians - revised: 15 Santiago Cordera, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Gavin Williams, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Patrick 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.
Replacements: 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.
Date: Saturday, November 30
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off: 14.30 (14.30 GMT; 03.30, Sunday, December 1 Fiji time)
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce, Greg Garner (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)