The athletic 24-year-old wing from George in South Africa’s Western Cape has impressed greatly since he joined Edinburgh from Montpellier in 2017, scoring ten tries in his debut season and maintaining a prolific strike rate.
His size and dynamic pace marks him down as a potentially crucial asset for the national team when he becomes eligible through the three-year residency rule which was in place – it has since been increased to five – when he opted for a move to the Scottish capital.
“I’m just focused on playing for Edinburgh,” insisted Van der Merwe as he looked forward to this weekend’s
opening 1872 Cup clash against Glasgow at
“I don’t want to look too far ahead. Once that opportunity comes I will obviously grab it with both hands but, at the moment, I’m just focused on performing every weekend for Edinburgh.”
His accent may be heavy Afrikaans but the winger made it clear from the outset he did view the chance to play for Scotland as
something he would dearly
like to do when the time comes but, for now, his focus is on Scottish club rivalry as the Springbok age-grade internationalist prepares to face opposition he enjoyed a brace of intercept tries against in last December’s meeting at BT Murrayfield.
“Well, I couldn’t quite understand the excitement at first but since I’ve been here it’s been ‘oh we really need you to be up for the Glasgow game’,” said Van der Merwe. “This is my third season here now and there is a real buzz throughout the week.
“Playing against a team like Glasgow, they play a really exciting brand of rugby and obviously people are going against each other for Scotland spots and all that kind of stuff, so it’s nice and I’m looking forward to it.”