No joke, Edwill van der Merwe has a role to play for the Stormers
If there was one thing that was a regular fixture on the Varsity Cup calendar, it’s the Paul Roos old boy’s visits to the try line and, of course, his all-too-familiar reactions that came after touching down in the opposition’ in-goal. Those dashes to the try-line were as typical as rugby on Saturday mornings...pre-2020, that is.
There’s no doubt that the Stormers winger was one of the most recognisable faces in the Varsity Cup competition, but until now, he hasn’t yet produced the same kind of electricity and presence at Super Rugby level as he has in the premier university competition.
That’s by no fault of his own, however, as the 24-year-old has only featured in bits and parts for the Stormers until now. During the Stormers’ six Super games, Sergeal Petersen and Seabelo Senatla mostly did duty alongside touch. And while Van der Merwe has pace for days, it certainly isn’t an attribute that anybody can ever say the aforementioned duo lack in any way.
Head coach John Dobson, though, has made it clear that Van der Merwe is one of the guys he’ll be looking to get out on the field of play more often when rugby resumes.
While injury hit the Stormers forwards heavily during the first few weeks of the 2020 season, the outside backs remained unscathed, something Dobson said added to their lack of rotation out wide.
“We did not have one backline injury in the first six games. It was freakish. We sort of kept going, so we did not create enough opportunities,” Dobson said earlier this year.
“There is no question that the guys who I will be looking to create opportunities for are Edwill - who is overdue - and Leolin Zas. I don’t know what Seabelo’s plans are long term, but we know that Dillyn (Leyds) will be going to Harlequins at some stage. So Zas and Edwill have to be given opportunities.”
Dobson has often spoken about creating opportunities for their X-factor players and bringing them into the game more, and with a steady supply of excitement in the likes of Petersen, Senatla, Leyds and Damian Willemse, Van der Merwe is another who can supplement all that.
After all, what can be a better flashback to his superb Varsity Cup displays than a few try celebrations in a Stormers jersey?@wynonalouw