Edinburgh's Van der Merwe dreams of playing for Scotland

The South Africa-born winger could follow in the footsteps of Cornell du Preez and WP Nel.

Ambition: Duhan van der Merwe wants extended stay in Scotland. SNS Group

Edinburgh Rugby winger Duhan van der Merwe has revealed his ambition to earn a long-term stay in Scotland and qualify to play for the national team.

The 22-year-old signed a two-year contract with Edinburgh in the summer after leaving French side Montpellier, where he scored three tries in four appearances.

The former Blue Bulls wing now wants to follow in the footsteps of his South Africa-born teammates Cornell du Preez and WP Nel and play for Scotland.

Van der Merwe represented South Africa at under-20 level, with his two caps coming at the 2014 Junior World Championships.

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Because those games came against Scotland and New Zealand, whose under-20 teams do not count toward tying their own players to the country, he remains free to qualify for another nation through residency.

He also represented the Springboks under-18s team at rugby sevens but that does not capture a player to a particular nation either.

If he remains in the country, Van der Merwe would qualify to represent Scotland in the summer of 2020.

World Rugby rules will change in 2019 so players signed after the Rugby World Cup in Japan will have to live in a country for five years to qualify for caps.

Van der Merwe said: "My long-term goal is to stay here for a few years and maybe qualify to play for Scotland.

"That is my ambition, I am hoping that can happen."

'I have always wanted to play international rugby but with all the stuff going on in South Africa I just decided that I was never going to get the opportunity to play there.'
Duhan van der Merwe

Scotland overtook South Africa in the World Rugby rankings this month amid problems with finances and political feuding in the rainbow nation.

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It has led to a drain of talent to the richer leagues in Europe, Japan and Australia.

Van der Merwe said: "I have always wanted to play international rugby but with all the stuff going on in South Africa I just decided that I was never going to get the opportunity to play there.

"I didn't initially think about coming over here just to be eligible to play [for Scotland] after three years.

"But when Edinburgh contacted me I asked about it, and they came back to and said 'well, if after three years you are good enough, then you will be eligible' and I thought that was a good thing."

The winger has been impressed with Scotland's autumn form, as Gregor Townsend's side returned with two victories and a mountain of praise for their performances against Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.

Van der Merwe said, who made his Edinburgh debut last month against the Cheetahs after five months out injured, said: "They are doing amazing, there is a great buzz going on there.

"I spoke with one of my best mates Cornell [de Preez] who says there is a massive vibe going on there and you can see they are doing really well."

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