Van Der Merwe not fazed by missing try bonanza

DTH van der Merwe. Picture: PA
DTH van der Merwe. Picture: PA
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THE free-scoring nature to Glasgow’s resurgence this season as an attacking force has delighted everyone in the west of Scotland, except perhaps their leading Canadian winger, DTH van der Merwe.

The Warriors face Cardiff at Scotstoun tonight having scored 47 tries this season to their opponents’ 20, the Glasgow total just one behind Leinster at the top of try charts this term. Recent wins over lower-league opposition has sparked the deluge and 14 players have all scored (20 tries), but Van Der Merwe has not been among them.

The internationalist played the good PR card when asked if he minded the tries being shared around the team, and the fact that lock Tim Swinson had scored three in the past two games, by insisting that “it doesn’t matter who scores, I’m happy so long as we’re scoring”.

The South African-bred Canuck is a very genuine character and there is no reason to doubt his sincerity, but he wore a wry smile when realising that his last try was dotted down in 2012, in the derby with Edinburgh, and the natural internal rivalry ­surfaced.

“Tim’s on the wing in my position when he scores!” he said, insisting that that hadn’t gone unnoticed in the debrief of last week’s terrific win over RaboDirect Pro12 leaders Ulster.

“It is great having guys like Tim scoring tries. It shows it is a team collective here and we are all playing for each other. As long as we get four tries and a bonus point it is great for the team.”

While coach Gregor Townsend has warned against any let-up in Glasgow’s intensity, the team have matched a ten-year-old Dragons record of claiming four successive bonus-point wins and a new high expectation will swirl around their bid to set a new target by not only beating the Blues, but scoring four tries again tonight.

Van der Merwe is still Glasgow’s most potent finisher. He sits second in the RaboDirect charts, with eight tries, behind his Edinburgh rival Tim Visser on 11 and with team-mate Tommy Seymour third on seven. Van der Merwe is also aware that he is just one touchdown from emulating the Glasgow record of 27 set by Thom Evans.

“Wingers are meant to score, right? The guy who should finish things off. Thom is good friend of mine and it would be great to give him the text when I do score and beat him. He texted me when I got to 26 and he saw I was getting close. Obviously he is keeping tabs on that. Tim Visser has scored 11 tries this season and everybody knows what a threat he is for Edinburgh, but if we can spread it around the park, with some other guys scoring, then it is really a bonus for the whole team.”

In truth, Van Der Merwe is probably grateful that he is playing at all after being stretchered off in last week’s win against Ulster. The wing had suffered a head knock and it took a while for his team-mates and the referee to notice, but he explained that the lengthy delay around his treatment was purely precautionary as he complained of a sore head and neck.

“It was just precautionary, and I was fine quite quickly. Anything happens close to the neck you need to take medical precautions, but the best-case scenario is that you go to the hospital and get cleared that night and that’s what happened.”

Van Der Merwe has been the most potent finisher for Glasgow this season and even if he isn’t scoring he is attracting defenders like bees around honey because of his skilful movement and pace.

Having come through two seasons disrupted hugely by a broken wrist and then serious shoulder injury, Van Der Merwe has become a key figure in the team this season. He is keen to build on a good World Cup for Canada and ensure his side beat the USA this summer in the World Cup qualifying matches, and ensure they avoid Scotland’s pool in 2015, but for now the focus is purely on helping Glasgow maintain the drive for a first home semi-final spot in the Pro12 play-offs.

“Everybody says we are on a good roll just now, but the team has dealt very well with pressure. Everybody is really enjoying it. We are not saying: ‘We have to win this game’; everybody just goes out there going to give their best. But we are starting to look at a top-two spot. Getting a home semi would be great. We have six games left and it is in our hands to get that home semi-final. We definitely won’t be taking our foot off the accelerator. Having the big stands up like they were for the sevens [temporary stands will return at either end of Scotstoun for a semi-final] would be great. If we can get those stands up there would be a great atmosphere.

“In the four years I have been here we have made the semi-finals two times and the Glasgow community is really getting behind us. It would be great for Glasgow rugby.”



15 P Murchie

14 B McGuigan

13 A Dunbar

12 P Horne

11 Van der Merwe

10 D Weir

9 N Matawalu

1 G Reid

2 P MacArthur

3 J Welsh

4 T Swinson

5 A Kellock (capt)

6 J Strauss

7 J Barclay

8 R Wilson


16 F Brown

17 O Fainga’anuku

18 M Low

19 T Ryder

20 J Eddie

21 H Pyrgos

22 S Wight

23 G Morrison


15 C Czekaj

14 O Williams

13 R Smith

12 G Evans (capt)

11 H Robinson

10 R Patchell

9 A Walker

1 T Filise

2 K Dacey

3 B Bourrust

4 L Reed

5 J Down

6 R Watts-Jones

7 J Navidi

8 L Hamilton


16 M Breeze

17 S Hobbs

18 T Petru

19 M Cook

20 T Young

21 L Williams

22 G Davies

23 C Allen