Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
28 Nov 2021
1:15 pm

Van der Merwe must be patient after Lions debut put on hold

Ross Roche

Having moved from the Stormers during the recent international break, Edwill van der Merwe is keen to turn out for his new team.

Edwill van der Merwe during a Stormers training session, before his move to the Lions. Picture: Gallo Images

Exciting new Lions signing Edwill van der Merwe will have to wait for his chance to make his debut for the side after the United Rugby Championship matches set for the next two weekends in South Africa were called off due to the country being put on the travel red list in the UK and Europe.

A new Covid variant has thrown the local sporting scene into disarray, with the URC confirmed among the many casualties with the Lions’ two opponents, the Cardiff Blues and Munster, rushing back home.

It is a pity for Van Der Merwe, who burst onto the scene with some electrifying performances for the Stormers and Western Province, and he was looking to make an immediate impact after his recent switch to the Johannesburg based side.

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“I am very happy to have made this move. The Lions family has been good to me, training has been great and I am really enjoying my time here,” Van der Merwe said.

“It was a great opportunity to come up here and I felt I needed to challenge myself in a different environment, so I am really excited to be here.”

He featured in three of the Stormers’ four games on their European tour at the start of the URC, and having moved during the November international break, Van der Merwe was keen to utilise that experience for his new team after being named in the starting side for the Cardiff clash.

“Any opportunity to play rugby against international opposition is a fantastic opportunity,” Van der Merwe said.

“To experience all of that has been great and I’m looking forward to continuing that journey with the Lions for the remainder of the season.”

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Van Der Merwe was well prepared for the Lions’ matches against Cardiff and Munster before they were called off, knowing exactly how big the challenge facing the hosts had been.

He will, however, now have to wait for his chance to show what he can do for the Lions, with their next game only set for early January against Leinster, although a plan may be put in place to get the local sides some game time in the interim.

“I am excited to contribute positively to my team to ensure that we do well in the tournament. I’m here to add value towards the success of the team,” said Van Der Merwe.

“It’s a tough tournament with quality opposition and it will take a bit of time for SA teams to adapt, but I believe with time we’ll be up there.”