Lawrie: Van der Merwe arrival has already energised the squad
He may have only re-joined the team on Monday, but Duhan van der Merwe’s return has already ‘energised the squad’ ahead of Saturday night’s crucial BKTURC home match-up with Benetton.
Speaking to the media, Forwards Coach Stevie Lawrie hailed the winger’s early impact, with Van der Merwe in contention for his ‘second debut’ this coming weekend.
“Duhan’s looking magic,” said Lawrie. “The boys are energised to have him and we’ve already had some comedy moments from him in a couple of meetings.
“He’s been referencing his super strength! he’s brought a bit of energy and a bit of fun.
“It’s great to have Duhan back in with the group. It creates a lot of competition within the back three but also, he brings his own energy and his own vibe. The boys really like him. I’m excited for him to be in the mix for selection this week.”
Van der Merwe re-joins a team with a different playing style than he was perhaps used to under the previous regime.
With a new fast track at DAM Health Stadium, the winger will slot into a backline who’ve enjoyed playing with creativity and freedom, instilled by Head Coach Mike Blair.
“He played for Cockers here before, went to Worcester to play for Steve Diamond and now he’s back here to play for Mike. And he played for Mike before at Scotland.
“But I see Duhan slotting in just fine. I think he’ll enjoy the shapes that we’re running and how we can get him on the ball. He’s a devastating runner.
“At Worcester he was one of the top line-breaking wingers in world rugby. His stats are very impressive. I think he’ll go well under Mike and Mike will enjoy thinking of ways to get him on the ball.”
Van der Merwe returns to a positional group that is perhaps the most competitive in the playing group.
Winger Darcy Graham has already ran in six tries in four matches while Argentine international Emiliano Boffelli has returned to the capital XV following a hugely successful Rugby Championship campaign with Los Pumas.
“How good was the wee man [Darcy] at the weekend? “continued Lawrie.
“He could beat a man in a phone box. He was brilliant. He’s on form just now. And there’s quite a nice balance there in terms of individuals.
“Whoever’s in the back three knows they need to perform. And from a coach’s perspective that’s a positive place to be.”
Van der Merwe’s return brings an added boost to the squad as the capital side gear up for Saturday night’s Scottish x Italian Shield conference match-up with Benetton.
Having been edged out by Emirates Lions on Friday night, Edinburgh will be keen to return to winning ways at DAM Health Stadium where they’ve only lost two league fixtures since moving in last season.
“I think we’ve played some tough teams, for sure, but we’ve also reflected on how ruthless we can be. Mike’s spoken about it – what we’re controlling, and how we’re going to get ourselves over the line in these tight games.
“Because we had opportunities to win that game at the weekend, probably similar to Bulls away, and we’ve just fallen short. That’s the straightforward fact.
“We’re probably looking around our contact area and how physical we can be when we’re actually in the opposition finish zone, inside their 22 – how we can be more efficient or more ruthless.
“Last year, Scarlets first game of the season was one that could have gone either way. We were on the right side of that result, now we’ve found ourselves on the wrong side of a couple of results.
“So it’s important this weekend against Benetton that we play with the confidence and belief that’s in the group, but that we’re also just physical, and able to play on top of them when we get into their 22.
“We conceded a number of turnovers, not through overplaying – it was more things like getting stripped or going off our feet – things that we feel were in control of that didn’t quite click at the weekend. So we’ve got a real laser focus on that this week.”