Van der Merwe reflects on ’emotional’ Scotland debut and Super Saturday excitement

Duhan van der Merwe enjoyed a perfect, try-scoring Scotland debut against Georgia and now he’s excited to test himself in the Guinness Six Nations.

Duhan van der Merwe enjoyed a perfect, try-scoring Scotland debut against Georgia and now he’s excited to test himself in the Guinness Six Nations.

The flying winger looks to be in line for his Championship debut against Wales on Super Saturday, with head coach Gregor Townsend set to name his team on Thursday.

The 25-year-old, who qualifies for Scotland on residency grounds, has been a standout performer for Edinburgh Rugby for the past three seasons, and took that form onto the international stage on his debut against Georgia last weekend.

Now, he’s looking forward to take part in a Championship he grew up watching in South Africa.

“Back home we used to watch the Six Nations on the TV and be like ‘who would want to play in the wet and cold weather like that?’, but now it’s something I really do want to be involved in,” said Van der Merwe.

“I want to play against the best players in the Championship, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Van der Merwe reflected on an “amazing” first Scotland appearance, in the 48-7 triumph over Georgia.

He was put away to score his first Test try by Finn Russell and admits the day will live long in his memory.

He added: “It was a very emotional and proud day for me.

“I arrived at Edinburgh in 2017 and now three and a half years later I am a completely different and much better player than I was and I really enjoyed this match.

“It was special, scoring a try on my debut. I was delighted because when Finn came on, he kept saying to me ‘make that run on my inside’ and I did and he put me away so I was happy.

“Getting my first dot down for Scotland was amazing, I would like to score a couple more in the future now.”

The 6ft 4in wing was one of two Scotland debutants against Georgia as they returned to action for the first time since March, with fellow South African-born prop Oli Kebble also winning his first cap off the bench.

Fly-half Russell, meanwhile, won his 50th cap, and Van der Merwe revealed how the team marked the occasion post-match, despite current restrictions preventing the players’ families and friends being inside BT Murrayfield.

“Scottish Rugby managed to get my family on a Zoom call afterwards when I was presented with my first cap so that was great stuff, very special,” he explained.

“All my family and mates were on the Zoom call as well as Finn’s family for his 50th cap and Oli’s family for his first cap, so it was very special.”

The winger, whose family were watching the match live on television from South Africa, admitted he noticed a step up in quality on his first steps into international rugby.

And he expects there to be another step up as Scotland conclude their 2020 Championship against Wales at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

“After my first few carries in the match I was thinking ‘wow, I am not getting much space here’, but I just have to work out how to beat guys at this level,” he added.

“Myself and Gregor [Townsend, Scotland head coach] talked about me getting on the ball 10 times and that was my mission going into the game. Late on thankfully I got on Finn’s inside and scored.

“It’s very exciting for myself if I can get the opportunity to play Wales and make by Six Nations debut. That’s something I’ll really look forward to.”

Van der Merwe also impressed his coach, with Townsend making a point to single out the debutant for praise in the aftermath of the match.

Hr said: “Duhan showed great work-rate for his try to get on the inside ball, and you’ve got to credit Finn realising the space was there, but also for a winger to get off the wing and make sure that he’s an option inside our 10.”

After an impressive start to international rugby, Van der Merwe will hope he can impress again as Scotland look to end an 18-year wait for victory on Welsh soil.