Despite a brace of tries of his own, Edinburgh scrumhalf Nic Groom has praised teammate Duhan van der Merwe, saying he is ‘good enough’ for Test rugby.
The young wing had a massive run down the touchline, carrying the ball in one hand and beating two defenders before looping it inside to Groom for the halfback’s second try in Edinburgh’s PRO14 win over rivals Glasgow Warriors on Saturday night.
Van der Merwe is the brother of Springbok hooker Akker, who plays for Sale Sharks in the English Premiership division, and has qualified by residency for Scotland. If Groom has anything to do with it, he believes Van der Merwe will make an easy transition to Test rugby.
‘I owe Duhan a lot of beers. He put me over once or twice,’ Groom said after Saturday’s match. ‘I’ve been waiting, he is an incredible player with ball in hand and my philosophy is that if I just remain close to him, I’ll be in the right place.’
Asked if he thought Van der Merwe was international quality, Groom affirmed this in a flash.
‘I think so, I don’t think many people will argue with that. His form has proved that and think he has improved immensely over the season. He has added a lot to his game.’
Groom also had praise for his halfback partner, former Lions utility back Jaco van der Walt, who claimed the man-of-the-match award at flyhalf with 15 points on the night.
‘Jaco looked really good, he has really stepped up running the attack. We will keep on working as nines and 10s to keep the team on the front foot. Obviously now you get a lot more lineouts because of the penalties and kicking for touch. That’s when the cogs start turning, we’ve had three lineouts here and where do we go from here. He has managed it very well.’
Groom was delighted with the victory, and claiming the 1872 Cup and securing Edinburgh’s place in the semi-finals of the PRO14.
‘I always thought we would come through, we would have the edge, but it is good how we stuck to our guns. We’ve put a premium on how we train, so it was good to get the win. It’s the first bit of silverware for us this year.’
The two sides clash again on Friday night in the return PRO14 fixture, before the playoff rounds the following week.
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