As part of a historic expansionthe Champions Cup will include next season three South African clubs who qualified through the United Rugby Championship (URC). We are now focusing on the South African players who have won the European Cup with, today, a focus on Heinke van der Merwe, crowned three times in the European.
The 37-year-old Heinke van der Merwe has enjoyed a prestigious career on the European stage, having left the Lions for Leinster Rugby in 2010. The South African prop has indeed won two European Cup winners’ medals in the jersey of the Irish province, before joining France and the Stade Français Paris with whom he won the title in the Challenge Cup. Van der Merwe was part of Leinster’s winning side in 2011 and 2012, playing every game in both campaigns, although he was only substituted in the 33-22 win over Northampton Saints and then against Ulster Rugby (42-14).
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The former Springbok stalwart scored one of five tries for Leinster in a record performance in the Irish province which has the most points, tries, conversions and the biggest margin of victory in a final of European Cup. Van der Merwe recorded five more competitive appearances for Leinster, before joining the Paris club in 2013 and playing 13 of his 23 European games in both competitions, across four seasons, including the 2017 Challenge Cup final where Stade Français triumphed against Gloucester Rugby (25-17).