How Duhan Van Der Merwe and James Lowe match up ahead of Six Nations showdown

Ed Elliot, PA
·2-min read

Scotland wing Duhan Van Der Merwe and Ireland counterpart James Lowe will continue their fledgling international careers this weekend by going head to head in the Guinness Six Nations.

South Africa-born Van Der Merwe and New Zealand native Lowe each qualified for their adopted countries last year on residency grounds.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the rival number 11s ahead of Sunday’s meeting at Murrayfield.

Duhan Van Der Merwe v James Lowe
Duhan Van Der Merwe v James Lowe

Duhan Van Der Merwe – Edinburgh

Duhan van der Merwe has already scored four tries for Scotland
Duhan van der Merwe has already scored four tries for Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend seemed to be counting down the days until Van Der Merwe was eligible, thrusting him into action at the first opportunity during the Autumn Nations Cup. His arrival on the international scene was eagerly anticipated given the constant destruction he has caused in the Guinness PRO14. The powerful 25-year-old, who will join Worcester in the summer, has so far justified the hype and already has four Test tries to his name, including the solitary score in last month’s historic Twickenham win over England. A hulking strike runner, he was part of the South Africa squad that finished runners-up at the 2014 Junior World Championship and, given his age, looks set to be a Scotland regular for many years to come.

James Lowe – Leinster

New Zealand-born James Lowe, right, qualified for Ireland last year
New Zealand-born James Lowe, right, qualified for Ireland last year (Marco Iacobucci/PA)

Despite previously branding World Rugby’s residency rule “stupid”, Lowe also won his maiden Test cap during the autumn. A high-octane performer, he recovered from a groin injury ahead of the Six Nations and appears to be a favourite of Ireland boss Andy Farrell, starting each of the five games for which he has been available. Following a couple of disallowed scores, his debut try against Wales remains his major contribution to date and he is yet to fully replicate his prolific Leinster form in the green jersey. Question marks sometimes surround his defensive game but the 28-year-old adds a different dimension to the Irish attack, while his infectious energy and enthusiasm are also welcome additions to Farrell’s squad.