Stephen Ferris has questioned British and Irish Lions winger Duhan van der Merwe’s defensive capabilities after the game against Japan.
Van der Merwe performed well in attack at Murrayfield on Sunday, scoring the Lions’s second try of the afternoon, but he did struggle to get to grips with the admittedly brilliant Kotaro Matsushima at times in defence.
Former Lions and Ireland flanker Ferris was speaking to RugbyPass about the Scotland winger’s performance against Japan and admitted he was worried that van der Merwe would get caught out against the likes of Cheslin Kolbe.
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‘He got caught a couple of times.’
“I think Duhan Van Der Merwe against Japan looked very beatable on the inside. He looked very, very slow to turn and go on the inside. He got caught a couple of times,” Ferris said.
“If you’ve got Cheslin Kolbe coming down your channel, we all know what he could do.
“Again, not to reference Ulster too much, he made a fool out of Jacob Stockdale a couple of times in the quarter-final away to Toulouse in the European Cup. He is an absolute superstar and has the pace to burn as well.
“Maybe not the high end pace that Louis Rees-Zammit has but his stepping ability is second to none.”
Changes aplenty for the Lions’ first game on South African soil.
Van der Merwe will have to wait for his second appearance for the Lions, as head coach Warren Gatland has made 14 changes to the side that started against Japan for this Saturday.
Gatland has said that every player in his squad will get a chance to start in one of the Lions’ first three games this summer, and he looks likely to keep to his word as 29 players will have started by the end of the week.
Many of the English-based players who joined up with the Lions squad late due to club commitments have been selected for the game against the Johannesburg-based Lions, namely Exeter Chiefs and Scotland full back Stuart Hogg, who has been selected to captain the side.
Eight debutants have been named in the Lions’ match-day squad for this Saturday, which features just two Ireland internationals after seven Irishmen started the game against Japan.