Scotland coach heaps praise on star winger van der Merwe after score from 55m out


Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has described the stunning Duhan van der Merwe try against England as being like “when you played Jonah Lomu rugby” on the original PlayStation

The score, reminiscent of one from the classic computer game, came in Scotland’s dramatics 29-23 win at Twickenham in round one of the Six Nations.

Duhan try like Jonah Lomu rugby

‘It was incredible wasn’t it?,” said Townsend of the Duhan van der Merwe try from 55m out.

“It reminded me – if you are a certain age – of when you played Jonah Lomu rugby and suddenly one person can go quicker.

“Duhan has not had much rugby over the last few weeks but has trained really well with us. To play like he did today off the back of an injury and not playing for Edinburgh is a real testament to how he has got himself in this position both mentally and physically. It was almost a different side to Duhan, how he stepped and accelerated away.

“His finish for the second try was similar to two years ago when he finished in the opposite corner. It was a brilliant finish but that first try was amazing.”

Van der Merwe said of his effort: “That’s probably the best try of my life. I was quite surprised when I got up and thought, ‘what have I just done?’

“I got the ball and saw there was some space in front of me. Once I got through the first line of defence, I saw there was heaps of space and somehow I managed to use footwork, which I never normally do. So I’ll take that one, I used some footwork and got over for the try.
“It’s normally when you pass to Jonah Lomu and he runs the length and boshes everyone. But there was a bit of footwork in there, I don’t know where that came from, but I’ll take it.”

Wales next for Scotland

Looking forward to next week’s clash with Wales, Townsend said: “We have to be better – that wasn’t our best performance. That’s now the exciting thing for us, that we can grow more in this tournament.

“To win from behind, when you’ve only got five minutes, to score such a good try makes it all the more special.

“But it will mean nothing if we don’t recover, train well and improve next week.

“England are a top, top side. Coming to Twickenham for any team is really difficult. You get belief from how you’ve gone against a team in the past. 2018 unlocked opportunities here.

“It’s huge in this tournament to win your first game as this tournament is all about momentum.

“It’s great now as we can look towards next weekend with positivity and belief. In the last two Six Nations we have played Wales after beating England and we haven’t won. I felt a lot of emotion at the end, I don’t know whether it was the noise, the occasion or that I never came close to winning here as a player.”

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