South African born Duhan van der Merwe named in British & Irish Lions squad

South African born Duhan van der Merwe named in British & Irish Lions squad
Archive Photo: Duhan van der Merwe of Edinburgh Rugby races for the line as he scores the opening try of the game chased by Zach Kibirige of Wasps during the European Rugby Challenge Cup Round 3 match between Edinburgh Rugby and Wasps at Murrayfield Stadium on December 6, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Boks beware as former countryman Duhan van der Merwe joins Lions for SA tour.

Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe, who was one of the star performers in the recent Six Nations, has been named in the 37-man 2021 British & Irish Lions squad to face the world champion Springboks in July and August.

The George-born wing, who is 1.93m tall and 105kg, played two years for the SA under-18 team and also for the Junior Springboks in 2014. He has been selected with a view to his power and pace causing his former countrymen some discomfort in contact.

The squad will be captained by Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones, who makes his fourth Lion tour and is the only survivor of the last time the Lions toured South Africa in 2009.

Jones is the fifth consecutive lock to be named as Lions skipper to South Africa following Willie John McBride (1974), Bill Beaumont (1980), Martin Johnson (1997) and Paul O’Connell (2009).

“It’s one of the hardest squads I’ve ever had to put together. Selection, at the end of the day, is just a matter of opinion,” head coach Warren Gatland said.

“Everyone will get a start in one of the first three games. If that had happened to me as a player, I would feel like I’m in the shop window.

“There is excitement for players named but there is desperate disappointment for some who miss out. We had a four-hour meeting yesterday and added an extra name, so we will take 37 players. I can assure people, we made no decision lightly.”

Jones said: “I’m very proud and leading the Lions is a privilege, but initially you want to hear that you are selected. I heard on Sunday when I saw I had a missed call from Gats (Gatland) and I thought I’d better give him a call back.”

Several players are named in a Lions squad for a first time, including Josh Adams, Bundee Aki, Chris Harris, Ali Price, Louis Rees-Zammit, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Zander Fagerson, Iain Henderson, Jonny Hill, Wyn Jones, Andrew Porter, Sam Simmonds, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson.

“We believe we’ve picked a squad capable of winning a Test series in South Africa,” said Gatland.

“Selecting a Lions squad is never easy and, in many ways, this has been the most challenging selection I have been involved in. Over the course of the last three weeks, the coaches and I have rigorously debated each position.

“We saw some outstanding performance in the recent Six Nations, so competition for places has been tough with some incredibly tight calls to make.

“However, we are very happy with the squad we have assembled and look forward to meeting up in Jersey in just over a month’s time to start our preparation to take on the World Champions. We’ve left out some very talented players which gives an indication to the strength of this squad and we know how important that stand-by list will be.

“Being selected for a Lions Tour is the greatest honour for a British and Irish player and I congratulate everyone named today.” DM


Backs (16):

Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) – Wing

Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) – Centre   

Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) – Fly-half #821

Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) – Centre #822

Gareth Davies (Scarlets, Wales) – Scrum-half  

Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) – Fly-half #780

Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby, Scotland) – Centre

Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Centre #824  

Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs, Scotland) – Full-back #783

Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) – Scrum-half #790

Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) – Scrum-half

Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby, Wales) – Wing

Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) – Fly-half #835

Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Wing

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) – Wing #816

Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) – Full-back #833

Forwards (21):

Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland) – Second row

Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Back row

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Hooker

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) – Back row  

Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) – Prop  

Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) – Back row #779

Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Prop #818  

Jamie George (Saracens, England) – Hooker #819

Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) – Second row #808

Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Second row

Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) – Second row #825

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) (Captain) – Second row #761

Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) – Prop

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) – Second row #826

Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) – Hooker #829

Andrew Porter (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) – Prop

Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) – Back row

Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Prop

Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, Wales) – Back row #786

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) – Prop #787

Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland) – Back row   


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