After revelling in the atmosphere of the 1872 Cup triumph over Glasgow at the weekend, Edinburgh stand-off Jaco van der Walt has expressed his desire to experience a full house at BT Murrayfield in the dark blue of Scotland one day.
The 24-year-old South African signed for Glasgow before the World Rugby residency rule was extended from three to five years and the man from near Johannesburg made no secret that possible eligibility for Scotland was a factor in his move.
“With me and [wing] Duhan van der Merwe, we came over to try and qualify for the Scottish team one day and I want to do it 100 per cent, give it my all.
“If I get my chance to wear that jersey one day I will do it with pride. It will be my new country then.”
Van der Walt is now looking ahead to Saturday’s Guinness Pro14 quarter-final at Munster. “I hadn’t watched a lot of Scottish rugby [before signing] to be honest with you,” he said. “So at the weekend it’s been massive for me to see the Scottish boys so passionate about this game against Glasgow and winning it was amazing. It made me feel like a Scottish guy. Being able to be with the boys and enjoy the achievement.”
Van der Walt has impressed his coach Richard Cockerill, who has been pleased to see someone take a hold of a position which has been a problem at Edinburgh for some time.
“I think for us we’re trying to build a squad where you have not got much of a muchness across positions,” said Cockerill.
“I don’t want three people in the same position who are all very much the same because you are tossing the coin on selection. Jaco has done well, played well. He is very good ball-in-hand considering he has come mid-season from the Southern Hemisphere, a very different game, different weather conditions...
“I think he has done really well and [incoming Kiwi stand-off] Simon Hickey will do that as well. It is good to have competition there as well. To be fair Duncan Weir has played well there and so has JasonTovey. Those pivotal positions are important. We have a settled team, we had that last weekend and will do this weekend.
“That nine-ten slot has been a difficulty for this team in the last three or four years. This squad is not going to be fixed in a season, there are certain positions which, over the next 12 and 24 months, will need to be looked at.
“Everything is not solved because we have had a half decent year. We need to keep moving forward and in another contract cycle there will be more change and hopefully more quality and people need to prove themselves again next season.”
Edinburgh’s preparations have now stepped up for what will be a huge test against the former European champions on Saturday.
“The boys were tired from the weekend because it was a physical game and they [Munster] had the privilege of resting players.
“We have had a relatively light start to the week. We will train again on Thursday. We have played 21 league games and seven European games, this our 29th game. We know how to play so as coaches it is a case of freshening the team up physically and mentally to go into this game and give everything.
“We have nothing to lose but have worked bloody hard to get to this point so I don’t want to give it away either. If Munster are going to beat us, I want them to have to play at their best to do that.”