All four qualify via the residency rule which states that you can play for an international side if you have lived in the country for 36 consecutive months.
The residency rule increases to 60 months (five years) on 31 December 2021, so only players who moved countries up until 31 December 2018 will be eligible under the three-year rule. The rule was originally due to change to five years at the end of this year but was extended because some countries faced a year without matches because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The four South African Scots in line to face Ireland are:
Jaco van der Walt
Born in Potchefstroom, the stand-off signed for Edinburgh in November 2017 from Johannesburg-based Super Rugby side the Lions. He qualified for Scotland last month and was drafted in for training with the national squad during the autumn window. He returned home to South Africa recently to get married and gets his chance at No 10 with Scotland following injuries to Finn Russell and Adam Hastings, Scotland’s first-choice stand-offs. He comes into the side at the expense of Duncan Weir who played at fly-half in the recent matches against Italy and France.
Duhan van der Merwe
The Edinburgh winger also became eligible for Scotland this year. The prolific winger signed for the capital side in the summer of 2017 and has made an outstanding contribution in his three seasons. He was voted Guinness Pro14 player of the year by his fellow professional for the 2019-20 campaign as he helped Edinburgh reached the play-off semi-finals. He made a try-scoring debut against Georgia in October and bagged another score against Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup win in Florence.
The Glasgow Warriors prop also made his debut against Georgia, coming off the bench in the second half of the 48-7 win at Murrayfield. Further substitute appearances followed against Wales and Italy before he made his first Scotland start in the defeat by France last month. The Durban-born prop has been with Glasgow since signing from the Stormers ahead of the 2017-18 season. Named as a replacement for the Ireland game.
Nel is a grizzled veteran compared to the other three. He joined Edinburgh in July 2012 and qualified for Scotland three years later, making his debut against Italy in Turin in summer 2015. He played in that year’s Rugby World Cup, helping Scotland reach the quarter-finals where they lost in agonising fashion to Australia. Also played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the prop will win his 40th cap on Saturday if he comes off the bench against Ireland.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.