July 20, 2024

WATCH | Edwill van der Merwe on his man of the Match Performance on Bok-debut against Wales

Lions winger Edwill van der Merwe described his sensational Springbok-debut against Wales at Twickenham on Sunday as “incredible and humbling”.

The 28-year not only scored a brilliant try in the 75th minute, but he had a brilliant all-round game.

The speedster from Kylemore  near Stellenbosch impressed on both attack and defence and was deservedly named Player of the Match.

“It was incredible … very humbling,” said Van der Merwe after the match.

“The way we prepared in the last two weeks has given me a lot of confidence in the system, and today I could just be myself. There was no real nervousness; I could just go out and be Edwill.

“The guys around me really helped me. Jesse (Kriel) and Mapims (Mapimpi) gave me a lot of confidence and always chatted to me to make my job easy. It was a memorable first cap for South Africa and hopefully it’s not the last one.”

Van der Merwe also recalled his try-scoring moment.

“I called for Grant (Williams) for the little ball off his shoulder and couldn’t believe my eyes when I went through. Crossing the tryline, I was overcome with emotion and just took a moment to take it all in. It was very special,” he said.

Besides Van der Merwe, Jordan Hendrikse (flyhalf), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (utility back) and Ben-Jason Dixon (loose forward) were also introduced to Test rugby, by head coach Rassie Erasmus – but it was Van der Merwe who was particularly impressive.

The former Maties and Stormers speedster said he was grateful for the opportunity and hoped it wouldn’t be his last and that he would make the Bok squad that will be named for the incoming series against Ireland and Portugal.

“Our preparation over these two weeks was fantastic. We had a really good build up to this match which was really important, especially for a new guy like me coming into a new system, and learning a few new things,” said Van Der Merwe.

“But my teammates and the coaching staff made it so easy for me to slot in, be myself and today I could just do my thing and play rugby. Every player is different, but it was incredibly special to get my first start for the Springboks and hopefully it’s not the last one.

“Ireland is known for being one of the best sides in the world. We will do our analysis from this game and then switch our focus to Ireland and hopefully I can be in the squad to face them in those two Tests in South Africa,” he added.

The Springboks are next in action when they take on Ireland in the first of two Test matches at Loftus on 6 July.

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