Duhan van der Merwe reveals he failed his Edinburgh medical

Van der Merwe has thanked Richard Cockerill for taking a risk and backing him to succeed

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 6:00 am
Duhan van der Merwe wants to play for Scotland

Wing Duhan van der Mer has thanked Edinburgh and head coach Richard Cockerill for showing faith in him and signing him in 2017 despite the fact the South African failed his medical.

After taking months to get on the pitch for his new club, the athletic and electric-paced flier from the Western Cape has been a revelation, scorching in for 28 tries in 53 appearances which, in quick time, takes him to fifth on Edinburgh’s all-time scorer list, behind only Tim Visser (69), Chris Paterson (57), Simon Webster (36) and Derrick Lee (32).

He signed a new contract with the pro team yesterday and Cockerill said: “When he came [from Montpellier], he was very young, very raw – and he was injured when he arrived. He needed hip surgery because he wasn’t fit to play.

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“In fact, he didn’t pass his medical. So we had to put our faith in him. It has worked out well.”

Van der Merwe becomes Scotland qualified in June on the old three-year residency rule and will be eligible for the summer tour to his South African homeland and New Zealand in the summer.

The 24-year-old Van der Merwe said: “The club threw me a lifeline when I failed my medical, I’ve developed my career here at Edinburgh and I want to keep developing as a player so, at the end of the day, it was actually easy for me to decide to stay here.

“I didn’t have much from Montpellier, I got the option to come to Edinburgh so when I failed my medical, I was a bit concerned, I thought where to next, what now?

When I look back, it could have gone really badly. If I failed my medical and Cockers didn’t back me, that was probably me because I didn’t have many options back then. Who was going to fix my hip? Where was I going to get rehab and all of that? So I’m really grateful for backing me back then.

“The club looked after me really well. I love the boys, I love the club, my missus loves the city so I’m really happy to have re-signed.”

Van der Merwe reiterated his desire to one day play Test rugby for his new adopted homeland.

“Yes, it’s in the back of my head. I want to play international rugby and if the opportunity is there to play, I’d want to grab it with both hands and give it a shot and see where I’m at,” he said.