Edinburgh Rugby bring back star winger Duhan van der Merwe after Worcester collapse
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He has become the first Worcester Warriors player to sign for a new side after the announcement that players and staff contracts are to be terminated following part of the club being wound up in the High Court.
HMRC had been pursuing Worcester, who are suspended from all competitions, for unpaid tax of around £6m. WRFC Players Ltd, through which players and staff are paid, has now been wound up, meaning their contracts have been terminated and they are free to find other clubs.
Van der Merwe’s return to Edinburgh is subject to visa, medical and regulatory clearances. But the return if the 6ft 4in strike-runner, who scored 32 tries in 67 appearances for Edinburgh after joining from Montpellier in 2017, is a major boost to the Capital club.
Head coach Mike Blair said: “I’d first like to send my thoughts to all those impacted at Worcester and to all players, staff and supporters affected by today’s sad news.
“Duhan is a phenomenal athlete and rugby player who’s showcased his abilities at the highest level. He developed significantly in his three years here and we’re looking forward to continuing that together. He’s very much one of our own and we’re really pleased he’s coming home.
“It’s an exciting development for the entertaining, attacking brand of rugby we’re building at the club and something I’m sure supporters will be thrilled about too.”Reflecting on the depth and competition for places in Edinburgh’s back-three, Blair added: “We were already pretty strong in that area [back-three], but Duhan becoming available as part of the goings on at Worcester was hard for Scottish Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby to ignore.
Van der Merwe has scored eight tries in 14 Tests for Scotland and started all three of the Lions’ Test matches against South Africa last year.
He said: “Edinburgh is home and it’s a club I have a special connection with. Many of the players and staff are like family to me and I’m hugely excited to return and get started once again.”