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'He looks very beatable on the inside' - Lions rookie could be exploited

By Ian Cameron

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Former British and Irish Lions back row Stephen Ferris believes that Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe has plenty to prove after an iffy defensive display against Japan last weekend.

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While he scored a try and was strong on the ball, the South African-born Scot struggled at times to contain Japan’s Kotaro Matsushima.

Ferris was speaking at the announcement of the British and Irish Lions team to play the Gauteng Lions on Saturday. The team features Welsh duo of Louis Rees-Zammit and Josh Adams, with Van Der Merwe not featured in the 22.

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“You might disagree with me here, but looking at the team sheet for the weekend, when it comes to the backs more specifically, I see a lot of those guys not starting the first Test.

“Chris Harris, Rees-Zammit, Josh Adams, Finn Russell, Ali Price, I’m just not sure they’re going to be starting the first Test, so this is a huge opportunity.

“I know it’s only the first game in South Africa but if these guys play really well, they give Warren Gatland a few headaches, throw a few questions over team selection going forward.”

Although not involved in the 22, Ferris suggested that Duhan Van Der Merwe defensively might not be well suited if tasked with defending against Springbok attacking sensation Cheslin Kolbe.

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“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,” said Ferris. “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.”

“I know it’s the first game, but this game means an awful lot to some of these players for the team selection going forward.”

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'He looks very beatable on the inside' - Lions rookie could be exploited

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