In the build-up to Saturday’s 52-29 win over Argentina, Hogg’s social media accounts were littered with pranks at the expense of Van der Merwe, the latest being captured on video and showing Hogg sneaking into his pal’s hotel room and catching him off-guard before going for a shower. The two are clearly good mates, but revenge is on the cards for Van der Merwe when the national team reconvenes at the start of next year.
On Hogg’s exploits, Van der Merwe laughed: “Ohhh mate ... I've actually done well because the first couple of days, he got me a lot, maybe three or four times a day, but then he's been struggling. Somehow he's managed to get a key to my room. I've told the people, ‘don't give him a key'. He knew I was getting a haircut on Friday night and he asked me what time I will be done. Me switching off, not thinking, half-past eight, he waits in my room for, I think he said 34 minutes. I'm going to have a shower and obviously I wasn't expecting him there. You know what, I'm going to get him back. Six Nations, revenge, definitely. He was hiding in the bathroom, behind the door. It's been filmed, I don't hope it goes viral. There's been bits blurred out, that's all I've got to say.”
Van der Merwe then put the jokes aside to pay tribute to the impact Hogg has on his game. "Hoggy's very loud from the back and gives me a lot of confidence,” added Van der Merwe. “He knows when I lose my head, he always comes up to me and says, 'Duwi, forget about it, focus on the next job, which is a real positive for me because that's one of my biggest work-ons, I lose my head quite quickly. He's just always in my ear, very loud on defence, gives me confidence, always speaks to me when he is attacking. I know what he is going to do. On another day he puts me away for a try. It's always great playing with him.”