"Fan Favourite Departs" Akker van der Merwe to Leave Sale Sharks with Immediate Effect - Ruck

“Fan Favourite Departs” Akker van der Merwe to Leave Sale Sharks with Immediate Effect

Sale Sharks have announced thar hooker Akker van der Merwe will depart the club with immediate effect. The Springbok is reported to be returning home ahead of the end of his contract, due to ‘personal reasons’.

A definite fan favourite at the AJ Bell Stadium, van der Merwe’s revered carrying and hard-hitting tackles earnt him the nickname the Raging Warthog. His raw power and unstoppable work rate saw Akker stamp his name on the Sharks’ number two jersey, after he arrived from the Cell C Sharks in 2019.

Akker van der Merwe of Sale Sharks during the Heineken Champions Cup Match between Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate on 15 April. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Van der Merwe first gained international recognition in 2018, as he earnt his first full test match cap for the Springboks. The hooker did not have the most extensive career in the famous green and gold of South Africa, as van der Merwe departed his homeland with three international caps.

Prior to joining Sale Sharks, the 32-year-old’s career began with the Golden Lions in the 2014 Super Rugby season. He marked his debut with a try against the Highlanders, and immediately became a talented prospect in the Southern Hemisphere.

Armand Akker van der Merwe of South Africa during the international rugby match between South Africa and England at the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein on 16 June 2018 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

After making 50 top flight appearances for the Lions, Akker joined the (Durban) Sharks, helping his new side to a Currie Cup final in his first year. Akker’s last season in the Gallagher Premiership saw him score seven tries, four coming in the Premiership and three in Europe.

The front-rower knew how to get to the try-line, as he crossed over for 29 tries as a Sale Sharks player.