Akker van der Merwe

Armand H P 'Akker' van der Merwe (born 17 June 1991 in Vanderbijlpark) is a rugby union player for English Premiership side Sale Sharks.[1] His regular position is hooker.

Akker van der Merwe
Full nameArmand H P van der Merwe[1]
Date of birth (1991-06-17) 17 June 1991 (age 28)
Place of birthVanderbijlpark, South Africa
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight108 kg (238 lb; 17 st 0 lb)
SchoolOuteniqua High School, George
UniversityNorth-West University
Rugby union career
Position(s) Hooker
Current team Sale Sharks
Youth career
2007–2009 SWD Eagles
2010 Leopards U19
2012 Leopards U21
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2013 NWU Pukke 10 (15)
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2013 Leopards XV 6 (10)
2013–2014 Leopards 11 (0)
2014–2017 Lions 50 (35)
2014–2016 Golden Lions 18 (25)
2015Racing 92 2 (0)
2017 Golden Lions XV 3 (15)
2017–2018 Sharks (Currie Cup) 15 (10)
2018–2019 Sharks 23 (30)
Correct as of 7 July 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2016–2017 Barbarians 4 (10)
2018 South Africa 3 (0)
Correct as of 16 June 2018



Although born in Vanderbijlpark, Van der Merwe grew up in George, where he played rugby for Outeniqua High School to win inclusion in the SWD Eagles Under-16 side for the 2007 Grant Khomo Week[2] and their Under-18 side for the 2008 Academy Week and 2009 Craven Week competitions.[3]

In 2010, he moved to Potchefstroom where he represented the Leopards and university side NWU Pukke. He was a regular for the Leopards U19 side during the 2010 Under-19 Provincial Championship competition, making thirteen appearances and in 2012, he made twelve appearances for the Leopards U21 side in the 2012 Under-21 Provincial Championship, scoring six tries.

He played Varsity Cup rugby for the NWU Pukke in 2013 and 2014. He made eight appearances and scored three tries in the 2014 competition, helping his side to the final, where they lost 39–33 to the UCT Ikey Tigers, with Van der Merwe scoring a try early in the second half.[4]


His senior debut came in 2013, when he was included in the senior Leopards XV side for the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition.[5] He made his debut against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg,[6] coming on as an early substitute. He also marked the occasion by scoring a try in injury time at the end of the match. Two more starts and three more substitute appearances (and one more try) followed during that competition.

His Currie Cup debut came in July 2013. He came on as a substitute on the hour mark at Olën Park in their 2013 Currie Cup First Division match against the eventual champions, the Pumas.[7] While mainly being used as a substitute during the campaign (playing off the bench on eight occasions), he did one start in the competition against the Boland Cavaliers.[8]

He made a further two appearances for the Leopards during the 2014 Currie Cup qualification tournament.


In April 2014, Van der Merwe was a surprise inclusion in the Lions touring squad for their Australian leg of the 2014 Super Rugby season.[9] He made his Super Rugby debut against the Chiefs in Hamilton[10] and scored his first try for the Lions in their next match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.[11] After one more match that he played off the bench (against the Waratahs in Sydney),[12] he made his first Super Rugby start in their final tour match against the Western Force in Perth.[13]

On 4 April 2015, he scored a last-minute winning in their 2015 Super Rugby season match against the Bulls to help the Lions win the match 22–18 against their trans-Jukskei rivals.[14]

Golden LionsEdit

His performances for the Lions in Super Rugby also led to a domestic move, with Van der Merwe joining the Golden Lions on a deal for the 2014 Currie Cup Premier Division competition.[15]

Racing 92Edit

He joined Racing 92 on a short-term deal for the start of their 2015–16 Top 14 season.[16]


He is the older brother of winger Duhan van der Merwe, who also played Craven Week rugby for SWD Eagles and were included in the South African Schools sides in 2012 and 2013.


  1. ^ a b "SA Rugby Player Profile – Akker van der Merwe". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  2. ^ "SWD-keurders kies vir Cravenweek". Die Burger (in Afrikaans). 28 May 2008. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Eagles set to take to the air". Premier Soccer League. 10 June 2009. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  4. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – FNB NWU-PUKKE 33-39 FNB UCT 1ST XV". South African Rugby Union. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  5. ^ "SA Rugby Squad – Leopards XV : 2013 Vodacom Cup". South African Rugby Union. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  6. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – MTN Golden Lions 45-15 Leopards XV". South African Rugby Union. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  7. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Leopards 27-35 Steval Pumas". South African Rugby Union. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  8. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Leopards 22-17 Regent Boland Cavaliers". South African Rugby Union. 17 August 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Vodacom Super Rugby Touring Squad Named" (Press release). Lions. 24 April 2014. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  10. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Chiefs 38-8 Lions". South African Rugby Union. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  11. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Highlanders 23-22 Lions". South African Rugby Union. 10 May 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  12. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Waratahs 41-13 Lions". South African Rugby Union. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  13. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Force 29-19 Lions". South African Rugby Union. 24 May 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  14. ^ "SA Rugby Match Centre – Emirates Lions 22-18 Vodacom Bulls". South African Rugby Union. 4 April 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  15. ^ "(H)Akker van der Merwe word 'n Leeu" (in Afrikaans). SupaRugby. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  16. ^ "Lions Rugby contracting update" (Press release). Lions. 1 July 2015. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.