Van der Merwe: Move back home a no-brainer
British and Irish Lions star Duhan van der Merwe has described his move back to the Scottish capital as a ‘no-brainer’ as the winger this week linked up with the squad after putting pen to paper on a new multi-year deal with the club.
Van der Merwe – who scored 32 tries in 67 appearances for Edinburgh after joining from Montpellier in 2017 before moving to Worcester in 2021 – has returned to familiar surroundings and now gears up to win his place back on the capital wing ahead of Saturday’s crucial BKT URC match-up with Benetton at DAM Health Stadium.
“I really enjoyed my time at Worcester but when the opportunity came up to Edinburgh it was a no-brainier,” said Van der Merwe.
“There was no guarantee I would be able to come back to Edinburgh but with Mike [Blair] being interested it was a no-brainier.
“I didn’t even want to look elsewhere. When I knew Edinburgh were interested, I said to my agent that is where I want to go. Mike has brought me in, and I am very grateful for that.”
A devastating strike runner and lethal finisher, Van der Merwe’s returns brings an added spark to a back-three unit who’ve already found success this season.
Fellow winger Darcy Graham has tallied an impressive six tries in four appearances, while Emiliano Boffelli returned from international duty and looked every bit the Los Pumas star when he pulled on the Edinburgh jersey against Emirates Lions on Friday night.
“The depth in our back three is frightening,” continued Van der Merwe. “The depth we have is a joke. The competition is just going to make me a better player.
“If you start on a Saturday and have a seven out of ten game, you will be on the bench next weekend. That is what I love about the competition we have going on in the squad. It is exciting times.
“Boffelli is really good and everybody else has their difference skills set. We saw how good Boffelli was in the summer and how good he is under the high ball.
“Darcy has brilliant feet, and he is playing the best I have ever seen him play. My mate Henry Immelman; I played with him at Montpellier and he is a bit of a freak. He loves running over people, I could speak about Damo too, so many other guys – it is good to have that competition in the squad.”
Alongside a plethora of attacking threats in the back-three, Van der Merwe joins a team with a different playing style and philosophy than he was perhaps used to under the previous coaching team.
The 6ft 4in, 105kg runner will be expected to hunt for the ball and move from his wing when the capital side are in possession, and it’s a style of attack that excites the Scotland cap.
“I have been watching Edinburgh for a long time now and playing under Mike Blair is really exciting,” added Van der Merwe.
“As a winger, I am potentially looking to get more ball and that really excites me as I love attacking.
The way they have been playing is just great, and great for me, which is why I can’t wait to be back out here at DAM Health Stadium.”
With 32 tries, Van der Merwe is already up there with Edinburgh try-scoring scoring greats like Simon Webster and more recently, Blair Kinghorn  – however, there is now one man in his sights as he resumes his career in the Scottish capital
“I like to think I am the same player. I wanted to test myself going to a new club like Worcester, but I am buzzing to be back and hopefully I can score a couple of tries and give Tim Visser a go for his record.”
With 69 tries in Edinburgh colours, Visser’s record is still a long way off, but with a strike rate as impressive as Van der Merwe’s, not many would bet against ‘Van the Man.’