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Saracens make pitch to Springbok to replace Kruis in second row

Saracens have pitched themselves to Flip van der Merwe

SARACENS are set to make a bid to tempt former Springbok second row Flip van der Merwe out of retirement to play for them next season.

Van der Merwe, who will this week celebrate his 35th birthday, is the son of former South African international tight-head prop Flippie.

The former Cheetahs and Blue Bulls lock played in France at Clermont Auvergne until last summer when he quit for Cambridge University.

Van der Merwe joined the former Harlequins and Australian captain James Horwill at Queens’ College on a two-year Executive MBA course.

The Rugby Paper understands that Saracens have spoken to van der Merwe to gauge if he has any interest in spending a season in the Championship.

Saracens last week confirmed that England lock George Kruis is moving to the Japanese Top League side Panasonic Wild Knights and need  a replacement.

“This is not an international retirement but a chance to do something that has been itching me for a long while,” said Kruis.

“I am only 30 and would like to think there is plenty left in the legs.

“The contract leaves things open nicely. I am still massively interested in England and Lions honours.”

They are still looking to strengthen their squad and we have been told that van der Merwe is a player they would like to see in west London.

Meanwhile, USA Eagles prop Titi Lamositele is going to leave the club this summer and will be joining French Top 14 outfit Montpellier.

Lamositele, 25 who can play on both sides of the scrum, has spent the last five years at Saracens and has played in the last two World Cup finals.

But he has become another victim of Saracens seeking to balance the books following their relegation from the Premiership after the salary cap scandal.

NEIL FISSLER

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