‘I know how I feel in my heart representing the Lions and that’s all that matters.’
British and Irish Lions winger Duhan van der Merwe has revealed he has gotten online messages saying he shouldn’t be playing for the touring side as he was born and raised in South Africa.
Scotland winger van der Merwe will make his first appearance for the Lions against Japan at Murrayfield Stadium, in what will be the side’s first home fixture since 2005.
Van der Merwe was speaking at a press conference before the match and revealed that he has received messages questioning his place in the squad based on his background.
2017 ➡️➡️ 2021
It’s been a long wait but it ends today 🦁😆
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 26, 2021
Duhan van der Merwe on representing the Lions.
“I’ve had a think about that and I’m just going to ignore all those kinds of bits. I’ve been ignoring all the stuff that people have been saying on social media,” van der Merwe said, via Sky Sports.
“You get the odd comment here and there – ‘he’s obviously born in South Africa so shouldn’t be representing Scotland or the Lions. He’s going back to South Africa and shouldn’t be representing the Lions’.
“You get all those kind of bits. I’ve put all that stuff behind me and focus on what I can focus on. I know how I feel in my heart sitting here representing the Lions and that’s all that matters.”
Duhan van der Merwe’s journey so far.
Van der Merwe played for South Africa’s under-20s side at the 2014 Junior World Championship, coming on as a replacement in that year’s final, which the Junior Boks narrowly lost to England.
The sizeable winger made a couple of appearances for the Pretoria-based Blue Bulls in a Currie Cup qualification series, before leaving South Africa to join Montpellier on a youth contract at the age of 20.
The Western Cape native struggled to get much game time at the French side and left Montpellier to join Edinburgh in 2017, where his career really kicked off.
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 29, 2021
After three years of impressive form with Edinburgh, van der Merwe was called up to the Scotland squad in October 2020 and made his international debut against Georgia the same month.
The Scotland winger has scored eight tries in just 10 games for his adopted country and will be hoping to continue to improve his impressive try-scoring record this summer with the Lions.