South African-born Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe says he wants to improve as a Test player now that his ‘nervous and emotional’ international debut is out of the way.
Van der Merwe is now very much in contention for a Six Nations debut against Wales on Saturday.
‘It obviously makes it very special, scoring on my debut,’ he said. ‘Finn [Russell] was actually saying, “Just run on my inside”. I did and he put me away.
‘It was a very emotional day for me, getting my first cap for Scotland. I came to Edinburgh in 2017 and three-and-a-half years later I am a completely different player. I enjoyed it and it was very special.
‘I was nervous but Gregor [Townsend] told me just to go out and do my thing. I’m obviously going to be nervous getting my first cap but now that is out the way, I will lose a bit of nerves and hopefully just get better.
‘It was a bit different, I felt very marked and didn’t have much space. I just have to work around that and find ways to beat guys.
‘We spoke about getting myself on the ball more than 10 times and that was my mission going into the game. I might just have been short but don’t tell Gregor.’
Van der Merwe enjoyed a special moment after the game as he and Oli Kebble – another South African who made his Scotland debut on the same day – were presented with their first caps while Russell collected his 50th.
‘It was live in South Africa, so my family and friends watched it and Scotland managed to get my family and friends on a Zoom call when I got my cap in the changing room,’ he said.
‘So that made it very special. Our captain, Fraser Brown, gave me my cap. I obviously came into a new environment and didn’t know what to expect. But the Scotland camp is amazing.’
‘You know what it’s like playing for Edinburgh against Glasgow, so I was wondering what the boys were going to be like, but they have been amazing. The buildup to the game has just been awesome and a very nice experience for myself.’
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