Jack Blain will miss his team-mate but knows that as one door closes another one opens. The 21-year-old former Heriot’s wing is hoping the Scotland man’s exit to Worcester Warriors provides him with more opportunities.
Blain has had a run in the team and caught the eye with a try double against Ulster in November. He starts today against Scarlets in Wales in the Rainbow Cup in what is Edinburgh’s final game of a largely disappointing season.
Van der Merwe has been a useful sounding board for Blain and his rise from Scotland debutant to Lion in eight months a source of inspiration.
“Obviously I’m sad to see him go,” said Blain, who has been named in Scotland’s summer squad but expects to be involved in only the A international against England on June 27. “He’s a big character at the club and he’ll be missed.
“He was very loud and always spoke what he thought. He was always giving pointers, and seeing him go on to play for Scotland and do so well and then be picked for the Lions and just knowing him as a guy is huge motivation. A great guy and he’ll definitely be missed.”
Edinburgh have signed winger Freddie Owsley for next season but Blain will look to use van der Merwe’s move south to
“There will be opportunities for other people to get shots, so I guess it’s just taking that opportunity when it comes,” said Blain.
“I know there’s a couple of boys that have come in as well. The back three since I’ve been here has been really strong, same for next season - it will be really competitive.”
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors stand-off Ross Thompson has been voted as the club’s Player of the Season, capping off a superb breakthrough season.
Thompson only made his debut for Glasgow on January 2 but has cemented his place in the team in the second half of the campaign.