Duhan Van Der Merwe determined to improve after banishing nerves on Scotland bow

Duhan Van Der Merwe aims to keep improving as an international player now he has got his “nervous and emotional” Scotland debut out of the way.

The South African-born wing marked his first cap with a try as Scotland beat Georgia 48-7 on Friday, running on to Finn Russell’s pass to get the home team’s sixth try of the game.

The 25-year-old’s introduction to Gregor Townsend’s team has been long anticipated after bagging 31 tries in three years with Edinburgh before qualifying for Scotland under residency rules.

Duhan van der Merwe collects Finn Russell's pass ahead of his debut try
Duhan Van Der Merwe collects Finn Russell’s pass ahead of his debut try (Jane Barlow/PA)

The winger is now very much in contention for a Guinness Six Nations debut against Wales on Saturday.

“It obviously makes it very special, scoring on my debut,” the former South Africa Under-18 international said.

“Finn was actually saying, ‘just run on my inside’. I did and he put me away.

“It was a very emotional day for me, getting my first cap for Scotland. I came to Edinburgh in 2017 and three and a half years later I am a completely different player. I enjoyed it and it was very special.

“I was nervous but Gregor told me just to go out and do my thing. I’m obviously going to be nervous getting my first cap but now that is out the way I will lose a bit of nerves and hopefully just get better.

Our two 🆕 Scotland caps 👏 pic.twitter.com/kk1gPNkHbI

— Scottish Rugby (@Scotlandteam) October 24, 2020

“It was a bit different, I felt very marked and didn’t have much space. I just have to work around that and find ways to beat guys.

“We spoke about getting myself on the ball more than 10 times and that was my mission going into the game. I might just have been short but don’t tell Gregor.”

Van Der Merwe enjoyed a special moment after the game as he and Oli Kebble were presented with their first caps while Russell collected his 50th.

“It was live in South Africa so my family and friends watched it and Scotland managed to get my family and friends on a Zoom call when I got my cap in the changing room,” he said.

“So that made it very special. Our captain, Fraser Brown, gave me my cap.”

The newcomer gets a hug from Russell
The newcomer gets a hug from Russell (Jane Barlow/PA)

The gesture continued a warm welcome into the Scotland fold.

“I obviously came into a new environment and didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But the Scotland camp is amazing.

“You know what it’s like playing for Edinburgh against Glasgow, so I was wondering what the boys were going to be like, but they have been amazing.

“The build-up to the game has just been awesome and a very nice experience for myself.”

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