South African-born Edinburgh and Scotland powerhouse Duhan van der Merwe is included in the 37-man 2021 British & Irish Lions squad to face the world champion Springboks in July and August.
The 25-year-old made his debut for Scotland last Autumn, making the most line breaks and second most defenders beaten in the Autumn Nations Cup, albeit with just three appearances.
He added to his two tries from November with five in four Six Nations games, the most in the tournament. We take a look at a few facts about the powerful, strong ball-carrying van der Merwe.
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Duhan is the younger brother of Springboks and Sale Sharks hooker, Akker. Following Duhan's inclusion in Warren Gatland's squad, the siblings could make history if they go toe-to-toe during the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour.
The two are just a few siblings to represent different nations.
2. Top try-scorer in the 2021 Six Nations
In the 2021 Six Nations, Duhan scored Scotland’s winning try against France in the 85th minute. It was Scotland’s first victory over France in Paris since 1999. The try took his tally in the tournament to five, making him the top try-scorer.
Duhan played for South Africa’s U20 team. In 2014 he came off of the bench for South Africa in the Junior World Cup final against an England team captained by Maro Itoje. England won the match 21-20 to claim the title.
4. Pro14 Players’ Player of the Season for 2019-20
Duhan van der Merwe has won the PRO14 Players’ Player of the Season Award 🏅— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) September 10, 2020
✅ Most Defenders Beaten
✅ Most Metres Made
✅ Most Clean Breaks pic.twitter.com/fyuvhJC2Y0
Van der Merwe was named Guinness Pro14 Players’ Player of the Season for 2019-20. He scored 11 tries in 19 matches and finished top of the stats charts in terms of clean breaks, defenders beaten and metres made.
31 - Duhan van der Merwe beat 31 defenders in this year’s Six Nations, surpassing Brian O’Driscoll’s record for the most in a single edition of the Six Nations (30), which he set in 2000. Unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/Bpt4nqpcKv— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) March 27, 2021
According to Opta‘s statistics, O’Driscoll beat a record 30 defenders in a single Six Nations campaign in 2000, but Van der Merwe bested that tally in the recent tournament when he beat 31 defenders in the five Tests they played.