Franco van der Merwe: Cardiff Blues lock to move on before playing game

Franco van der Merwe
Franco van der Merwe's one Springbok cap came against New Zealand in 2013

Cardiff Blues are set to release new signing Franco van der Merwe before he has played a game.

The Welsh region announced in January the 34-year-old lock had signed from Ulster for the 2017-18 season.

But now the once-capped South Africa second row could be heading to the Aviva Premiership, with London Irish leading the interest.

It is thought the Blues believe they have enough locks, with Seb Davies impressing on Wales' summer tour.

Van der Merwe spent three seasons with Ulster, playing more than 70 games.

He played Super Rugby with South African sides the Lions and Sharks before joining Ulster. He was capped against New Zealand in 2013.

The Blues board are looking to trim their wage bill ahead of the current season.

The region's specialist second rows include Davies, James Down, George Earle and Damian Welch - who has signed from Exeter - while flankers Josh Turnbull and Macauley Cook can also pack down at lock.

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