Flip hails 'dream' clash

Lock relishing full debut against New Zealand

Last Updated: 19/08/10 5:24pm

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Van der Merwe: Relishing All Blacks contest

Van der Merwe: Relishing All Blacks contest

Sky Bet

Flip van der Merwe says he will be realising a "lifelong dream" when he makes his full debut for South Africa against the All Blacks on Saturday.

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The 25-year-old lock was handed his first start by head coach Peter de Villiers as the faltering Springboks made eight changes ahead of the clash with New Zealand.

The Bulls player has already won three caps off the bench but will line-up alongside captain Victor Matfield in the second row in Johannesburg.

Defending champions South Africa have lost their first three Tri-Nations games and van der Merwe is hoping to help revive their campaign.

He said: "We're viewing this Saturday as a fresh start. For me it's been a lifelong dream to play the All Blacks, and I'm going to be giving it my all."

Impressive

Van der Merwe, whose rugby-playing father Flippie represented South Africa six times, impressed greatly while filling in for Bakkies Botha and Danie Rossouw at the Bulls this season.

He added: "It's an honour to be described in the same breath as Bakkies or Danie. But I also want to bring something of myself to the game as well."

New Zealand assistant coach Steve Hansen has stated that the lock could be prone to conceding penalties but van der Merwe says the comments will not affect his approach to the game.

"I'm not really worried about (Hansen's) comments. Rugby's not ballet and the All Blacks can expect a fierce contest this Saturday," he said.

"All I can say is that I wouldn't want to be an All Black at that stadium on Saturday," he added of the clash in the 90,000 capacity Soccer City stadium in Soweto.

"I played in Soweto in the two play-offs in the Super 14, and this is going to be even bigger."

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