Six Nations: Five things to know about gargantuan Scotland’s wing Duhan van der Merwe

Six Nations: Duhan van der Merwe on the charge with Scotland Credit: Alamy
Six Nations: Duhan van der Merwe on the charge with Scotland Credit: Alamy

Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe put his name in lights yet again last weekend as he wowed supporters with a stunning solo try against England in their Calcutta Cup victory.

The try was beyond belief as the wing received the ball well in his own half before rampantly running at the England side, beating five defenders to score a Six Nations classic.

In light of his moment of brilliance, Planet Rugby highlights five things to know about Van der Merwe.

South African born

Probably the most known fact about the winger, thanks to South African fans’ constant reminders from around the globe. Regardless, Van der Merwe was born in George on the Garden Route in the Western Cape.

The powerful runner stayed in South Africa through schooling and went on to represent South African schools, South Africa U20, the University of Pretoria and the Bulls before leaving for Montpellier in 2016. After a year with the French club, he then joined Edinburgh, where he had an initial four-year stint, before heading to Worcester Warriors, but he returned to the Scottish capital club in 2022.

He would make his Scotland debut in 2020 and only a year later would travel to his country of birth in the colours of the British & Irish Lions.

Brothers abroad

The Scot is not the only family member who fancies an oval ball, with his brother Akker van der Merwe donning the colour of Sale Sharks in the Premiership.

Interestingly, the hooker was the only brother of the two that was of national interest to the Springboks during his time with the Sharks in Durban.

Duhan confirmed that the Springboks never made contact with him despite strong performances in Edinburgh, ultimately resulting in a switch of allegiance to Scotland, from which he has never looked back.

Van der Merwe played a youth sevens tournament

During his time in the South African youth levels, the wing was part of the South African sevens squad at the 2013 Australian Olympic Youth Festival.

It was the first time that rugby sevens was included in the sporting event after the game was incorporated in the Olympic structure.

The South African team would go on to have a fantastic tournament claiming the title with a 22-7 win over the hosts in the final.

Future top-scorer?

Van der Merwe has already scored 16 tries in 24 Tests with Scotland and is showing no signs of stopping having already finished as the top try scorer in the 2021 Six Nations with five tries and he already has two next to his name in the 2023 championship.

Scotland’s all-time leading try-scorer is full-back Stuart Hogg with 27 tries, meaning if Van der Merwe continues trending as he is, then, sooner than later, the mountain of a man will be at the top of the pile.

It would be difficult to bet against Van der Merwe becoming the top try-scorer over the next 18 months.

Challenging the greats

The gargantuan wing has been very effective since arriving on the Test scene, and in his debut Six Nations campaign went on to beat the legendary Brian O’Driscoll’s record of most defenders beaten in a championship at 30.

What is fascinating is that Van der Merwe has the chance to beat his own record, having beaten a whopping 11 defenders in round one against England, meaning he has four games to beat more than 20 defenders, and he can raise his own bar.

The 27-year-old is very quickly writing his own history amongst some of the best to ever take to the field in the Six Nations.

READ MORE: Six Nations: Five storylines to follow in Round Two including a potential title decider in Dublin

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