The announcement of recently capped Scottish wing Duhan van der Merwe’s move to Premiership club Worcester Warriors was met with disappointment from Scotland rugby fans.
Van der Merwe has been one of the Pro14’s best attacking weapons for Edinburgh, leading the league in clean breaks and metres gained last season. The barnstorming winger won the Guinness Players’ Player of the Year in 2020 for his performances.
The South African-born wing recently qualified for Scotland under the residency rules and was capped before the Nations Autumn Cup Internationals in a match against Georgia.
He has scored 31 tries in 64 appearances since joining the club in 2017 but his exodus continues a trend of Scottish players leaving Scottish clubs after Adam Hastings announced recently he would join Gloucester. Jonny Gray, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell are all high-profile Scotland internationals who left to ply their trade overseas in recent years.
The move sparked debate among Scotland fans whether the eligibility rules for the national side should contain special provisions for ‘residency-qualified’ capped players, whereby they would only be picked if they still play domestically in Scotland. One fan wrote: “Perhaps the SRU should implement a rule whereby ‘project players’ qualified by residency are only picked for Scotland whilst playing in Scotland.”
Other fans decried the residency rule that ‘allows players to qualify on the basis of one club contract’.
Duhan van der Merwe has every right to follow the money. But has there ever been a case that more starkly proves the idiocy of a residency rule that (up to now) allows players to qualify on the basis of one club contract?
— Mark Palmer (@MarkPalmerST) January 4, 2021
It is absolutely fair that, while his earning potential is sky-high, and against the backdrop of a pandemic and serious knee injuries, Duhan van der Merwe chooses a move that will drastically improve his income.
— Jamie Lyall (@JLyall93) January 4, 2021
Winger Duhan van der Merwe only qualified for Scotland through residency a few months ago. Now he is off from Edinburgh and will join Worcester Warriors next season.
— Rob Robertson (@SDM_Robertson) January 4, 2021
— bobcarmi (@roberto_carmi) January 4, 2021
He shouldn’t be capped again. He is now bringing no benefit to the game up here. Lets’ give genuine Scots a go. If it weakens the national team then so be it. If all other countries had similar attitude it would level the playing field.
— Paul B (@tictoon) January 4, 2021
I don’t blame DvdM moving at all and it’s no surprise he has, but are we to conclude that Worcester are a bigger club than Edinburgh? I might’ve set my sights a bit higher than them?
Is residency any worse than digging out a granny/gramps from the family tree?
— Pebbly-Cat (@DBC_of_PBC) January 4, 2021
I suspect had COVID19 not wiped out the SRU’s finances they would be putting up more of a fight to keep Duhan,Hastings etc. And maybe even retained Barclay but a year without any international revenue has hit them hard. I would expect more to go the longer Murrayfield stays empty
— James McSorley (@mcmjco) January 4, 2021
Totally agree with you. Perhaps the SRU should implement a rule whereby ‘project’ players/players qualified by residency are only selected to play for Scotland whilst playing in Scotland. Will likely never happen as our talent pool isn’t good enough.
— Gregor Scott (@gscott1410) January 4, 2021
With the continuing player exodus and the arrival of the South African teams in the Pro14, Edinburgh’s and Glasgow’s level will be exactly where it is right now, and the hard won season ticket holders will have disappeared in a flash. Are we heading for just the one pro team?
— David Begg (@dadbegg) January 4, 2021
Other fans were intrigued by comments by van der Merwe about his excitement of joining Worcester because of the way they play, highlighting the difference in playing styles might have been an influencing factor in the move.
True, however, it also speaks to how Edinburgh play and frankly have failed to kick on.
Graham & DVM often spend 50-60 minute periods were they see the ball 1 maybe 2 times.
Endless box kicking and forward carries make really tough to be a winger in Edinburgh’s system.ADVERTISEMENT
— Porridge pusher (@mike61847223) January 4, 2021
Worcester rugby director Alan Solomons was ecstatic about the signing, calling the move ‘brilliant news’ for the club to have obtained such ‘an exceptional talent’.
“It is absolutely brilliant news for the club that Duhan has decided to join us,” he said.
“Duhan is an X-factor player, who has now established himself at international level.
“He is an exceptional talent and, I believe, will have a huge impact on the team. He has pace and power and is a world-class finisher.
“He is a player who puts bums on seats and our fans are certainly in for a treat. He is also a first class bloke and team man and will fit in well here at Sixways. We all look forward to his arrival.”
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