Edwill urges Lions to be more patient on attack

Edwill van der Merwe says the Lions need to ‘play what’s in front of us’ against Glasgow on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Edwill van der Merwe says the Lions need to ‘play what’s in front of us’ against Glasgow on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 15, 2024


Having turned 28 last month, Edwill van der Merwe is now in the prime of his career. So, how about a move back to his home side, the Stormers, from the Lions?

“I am home!” the speedster said, with a broad smile yesterday when told that Cape rugby fans would love to see him back in the Mother City, where he previously starred for the Stormers before joining the Lions in 2021.

“I’m enjoying my time in Joburg, and where we are as a team, it’s quite a special place, as we are fighting for a play-off spot.

“Last weekend’s result put (us) in a good place, but this week is a new challenge – something we have to face from 0-0 again.”

Of course, the Lions will again fight for their United Rugby Championship lives in Saturday’s clash against log leaders Glasgow at Ellis Park (4.05pm kick-off), having just managed to grab a late fourth try in the 34-13 bonus-point triumph over Cardiff last weekend.

Van der Merwe, who hails from Kylemore, near Stellenbosch, and starred for Paul Roos and Maties in his early career, is one of the most underrated wings in South African rugby.

He probably should have been a Springbok by now already, but has yet to get a call-up.

“I’ve had no communication with them, so I’m not sure about any of that. So for me, it’s just focusing on the Lions and doing my best for the team,” Van der Merwe said.

“Whatever happens, happens – it’s not really in my hands. I always say ‘do your best, and God will do the rest’, so ja!”

You would think that the June 22 Test against Wales in London, or the July 20 encounter with Portugal in Bloemfontein, would be ideal opportunities to give Van der Merwe a chance, with the likes of Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse the current first choices, followed by Makazole Mapimpi and Canan Moodie.

But his focus is on doing well for the Johannesburg side this weekend, who need to produce a much more disciplined display to knock over Franco Smith’s Glasgow and edge closer to a play-off spot, as they are currently 10th on 44 points.

Lions boss Ivan van Rooyen called on his team to round off the chances that they wasted against Cardiff, and Van der Merwe hopes to see more of the ball this weekend too, along with back-three teammates Quan Horn and Richard Kriel – who may be in doubt due to a hamstring injury.

“I don’t think we need to adapt (due to Glasgow’s comeback in their 40-34 loss to the Bulls), but rather (to focus) more (on) playing what’s in front of us, using our opportunities,” Van der Merwe said.

“We do create a lot of line breaks, but sometimes we don’t finish, or the last pass doesn’t stick. It’s having that patience when we do have line breaks, as we have players who can create something out of nothing, to just finish it off.

“This last weekend, we lost a few balls in the opposition 22 and that’s something we’re looking to rectify, and scoring even more tries.

“So ja, definitely enjoying the style that we’re playing, moving the ball around, and that’s something I really enjoy.”