Duhan van der Merwe: Scotland winger suspended for rest of Six Nations

Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe has been banned for the final two Six Nations matches after an independent disciplinary panel upheld his red card for “reckless or dangerous play”.

Duhan van der Merwe was sent off while playing for Worcester Warriors against London Irish. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Duhan van der Merwe was sent off while playing for Worcester Warriors against London Irish. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

The winger was sent off for Worcester Warriors during their 43-12 defeat at London Irish at the weekend when his forearm made contact with the face of an opponent, his fellow Scotland squad member Kyle Rowe.

At a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday night van der Merwe received a three-week ban, although this has the potential to be reduced. A statement issued by the Rugby Football Union said he would be free to play again when Worcester face Gloucester on March 25 “subject to completing the World Rugby Coaching Intervention programme”. That comes too late for Scotland and the player is banned for this Saturday’s game against Italy in Rome and the match against Ireland in Dublin seven days later.

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Van der Merwe has started on the left wing in all three of Scotland’s Six Nations games this season and was the top try-scorer in the championship last season.

Jeremy Summers, chair of the independent disciplinary panel, said: “The player had sufficient time and opportunity to have executed a lawful hand-off but failed to do so. The contact he then made to an opponent’s head was direct, at speed and involved a leading forearm all of which are factors pointing to high danger and a red card in the World Rugby Head Contact Process.

“No low danger or mitigating factors were present and, while some may feel it resulted in a harsh outcome, the referee correctly applied the HCP.”