Edinburgh’s Duhan van der Merwe aware 1872 derby is more than just a numbers game

Duhan van der Merwe has been schooled on how important it is to defeat Warriors
Duhan van der Merwe has been schooled on how important it is to defeat Warriors
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Wing Duhan van der Merwe insists that Edinburgh are approaching the festive PRO14 derby double header with Glasgow keen to show the pendulum is swinging back to the Capital after years of dominance from the west.

Edinburgh go into Saturday’s BT Murrayfield opener as 1872 Cup holders but sit fifth in their Conference B, while Glasgow sit proudly top of Conference A.

The Capital pro team, shorn of their international talent, didn’t fare as well as Glasgow during the recent Tests but bounced back to storm to 
the top of their Heineken Champions Cup pool.

The big South Africa-born wing, who wants to play for Scotland when his residency qualification is completed in a couple of years, is confident that local bragging rights can be theirs again.

“Definitely. We have a very strong team,” said the 23-year-old. “They have their strengths and we have our strengths too. You could say they have more depth but we are being well managed so it will be a massive battle this weekend.”

Van der Merwe goes into the game fresh from scoring what he described as one of his best ever tries, clinically finishing off a sweeping move in the last ten minutes to clinch the 21-8 Heineken victory at Newcastle Falcons on Sunday which has put Edinburgh within touching distance of the quarter-finals.

“I enjoyed it a lot. It has been a bit of a dry patch this season for me so getting one against Newcastle at that point securing the game was important,” said the man from George in the Western Cape, who joined from Montpellier last season.

The start to his Edinburgh career was delayed by injury but he featured in both of last season’s December ties against Warriors and is relishing another taste of derby action.

“The boys were chatting about the rivalry and saying wait till the Glasgow game, wait till the Glasgow game,” recalled Van der Merwe.

“In the build up to the Glasgow game that week I saw our boys getting hyped up. In the game you could see the boys wanting to go at each other. There are only two teams in the country and you want to prove yourself. It is him or you for the Scotland jersey. The boys really get up for it and I like it.”

More than 15,000 tickets had been sold for Saturday’s game at BT Murrayfield as of yesterday, with hopes that last year’s record crowd of 23,643 can be possibly surpassed.

Edinburgh edged a thriller 18-17 last year despite having prop Simon Berghan sent off in the first few minutes.

“Beating Glasgow at home with 14 men for almost the whole game shows the character we have,” said Van der Merwe. “Some people would have said they looked the better side. It was a massive confidence booster for us.”