Duhan: Excited is an understatement

South African-born wing Duhan van der Merwe says he is humbled to be selected for Friday’s clash between Scotland and Georgia.

The Edinburgh star will make his Test debut as international rugby continues its return.

Van der Merwe, who was named the PRO14 Players’ Player of the Season, has dominated the competition for some time with his pace and power, and will be hoping to turn the same form into points on the international stage.

Just last season there was no doubt as to the impact he had with the ball for his club Edinburgh and it was not to go unnoticed by the Scottish selectors.

The 25-year-old has been impressive all season topping out the Opta stats charts for defenders beaten (76), metres made (906) and clean breaks (31) while scoring seven tries and setting up two.

Additionally, Van der Merwe’s average of 5.6 defenders beaten per game set a new record for the PRO14 as he broke his own existing record of 5.3 set in 2017-18.

Van der Merwe, who was named after Irish folk musician Johnny Duhan after the family spent time in Ireland, spent his junior rugby at the Vodacom Bulls before signing for Montpellier and spending a season there.

But the move to Edinburgh was where he excelled, as he has scored 31 tries now in 58 appearances and is a firm favourite in the Scottish capital.

He has also been someone coach Gregor Townsend has been watching for a number of years. Townsend made it clear months ago that when Van der Merwe qualified he would be included in the Scotland side.

‘He is an excellent player,’ said Townsend. ‘He has shown this season a different level of play as well. His work off the ball has been excellent and his defence has been up there as well. He is quick, he’s strong, he makes a lot of linebreaks and tacklebreaks and he is a young player who will get better the more he plays.

‘It is a position where we have competition. Sean Maitland, Blair Kinghorn did very well for us this year, Darcy Graham missed out due to injury, and we’ve also got Kyle Steyn, Ratu Tagive and Byron McGuigan.

‘With Tommy Seymour retiring from international rugby, Duhan can certainly be in the mix for our next international.’

Taking to social media after the team announcement, Van der Merwe said he couldn’t wait for the opportunity to play for his adopted country.

Post by

Craig Lewis