Duhan van der Merwe in the Six Nations

Duhan van der Merwe in full flight. Image: AP.

Six Nations: South African-born wonderkid makes for great viewing

Duhan van der Merwe is one of the most lethal wings in the Six Nations, and it’s in the URC that his capabilities are put on weekly display.

Duhan van der Merwe in the Six Nations

Duhan van der Merwe in full flight. Image: AP.

Six Nations star Duhan van der Merwe has grown to become one of the most powerful and lethal wingers in world rugby, and it is in the United Rugby Championship that his superhuman capabilities are being put on weekly display.

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Born in George, South Africa. Schooled at Outeniqua High in George.

Moving to Montpellier in 2016 was a necessary entry point to European rugby but finding a home at Edinburgh Rugby is what has made Duhan van der Merwe the force he is today. 

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Between joining the Scottish side in 2017 and leaving in 2021, Van der Merwe scored 160 points in 67 appearances. Essentially, a try every two games. After a brief stint with the Worcester Warriors, Van der Merwe is back in Edinburgh and putting his talents on display in the most powerful club league in the world.

Watching Van der Merwe grow to such prominence in Europe was a delight for South African rugby fans, and to have him challenging South African franchises in the Vodacom URC is equally delightful.

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Van der Merwe’s strike rate as a try scorer at club level has extended to the international arena, where he has 16 from 24 Tests for Scotland, with his most recent one coming in the form of a Herculean 55 metres run through a third of England’s team. The try was one of two Van der Merwe five-pointers as Scotland stunned England 29-23 at Twickenham.

It has been brilliant for Edinburgh to have Van der Merwe back in the mix, and equally it has been massive for the league because it is a new playground that means South Africans get to see him playing in South Africa and against South Africa’s best.

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What makes Van der Merwe so special to watch is that he is a disruptor of the rules and rigidity that have come to characterise the modern game. He is a wild card. Van der Merwe is not picked to chase a highball, specialise in finishing or dictate defensive patterns from out wide.

He is picked for those moments of brilliance that the best defensive system can’t compete with, for his dogged persistence in contact and for his continuous involvement across the field that is uncharacteristic of a position that usually confines a player to the left.

The impact that Van Der Merwe has made on Scottish rugby has been immense, and he adds to the quality of playing talent that makes the URC so appealing to rugby viewers.

Van der Merwe, on the charge, strikes fear into the opposition but for lovers of great rugby, seeing him with the ball in hand and on the run is a thing of beauty.

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Six Nations star Duhan van der Merwe
Scotland star Duhan van der Merwe.