Edwill’s switch to Lions confirmed

Edwill van der Merwe’s heavily speculated move to the Lions was confirmed on Monday as the Johannesburg team officially announced the signing of the Western Province wing.

Playing in his first full season for the Stormers and WP, Van der Merwe has been one of the best-performing outside backs in South Africa in recent months.

However, it was reported back in June that while WP were interested in keeping him in the Western Cape, the 25-year-old had decided to sign for the Lions.

The Lions officially confirmed the move on their social media channels on Monday, with Van der Merwe set to replace veteran Courtnall Skosan, who left the club to join Northampton Saints in England.

Van der Merwe will still be available for selection for Western Province’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

Schooled at Paul Roos Gimnasium in Stellenbosch, Van der Merwe would go on to play for Stellenbosch University’s Varsity Cup team, Maties, and the Junior Boks before he was called up to Western Province and the Stormers.

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“Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR) made Van der Merwe a significant offer in a bid to retain his services, but the 25-year-old has chosen to relocate to Johannesburg,” a statement from WP read.
Van der Merwe will still be available to Western Province in the Carling Currie Cup playoffs and the Stormers for the first four rounds of the United Rugby Championship.
Stormers coach John Dobson said that while it is disappointing to see a product of the Western Province Rugby system leave, everyone wishes Van der Merwe everything of the best.
“Edwill grew up supporting Western Province and the Stormers and came up through our age-group ranks, so naturally we wanted to keep him here and, as we have said before, we did everything we could to do so.
“He has got plenty of game-time this year and as a result has hit some impressive form and he still has a big role to play for us until he leaves, so we are looking forward to seeing some great tries and trademark celebrations.
“We are also looking forward to announcing some new signings which will bolster our squad ahead of the United Rugby Championship,” he said.
Van der Merwe said that he is grateful for the opportunities he has been given over the years to represent the teams he grew up supporting.
“Playing for Western Province and the Stormers was a dream of mine from an early age and there have been so many people who have contributed to my development as a player here, which I will always be grateful for,” he said.

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

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Dylan Jack