Van der Merwe calls for defensive patience
He was twice a try-scorer in December’s 1872 Cup first leg victory over Glasgow Warriors and now winger Duhan van der Merwe believes that Edinburgh must stick to that defensive formula that secured a festive double over the Scotstoun outfit.
Van Merwe’s scores – which were both lengthy interceptions that arose from backline pressure - proved the difference in that opening 1872 Cup win and with the capital side now searching for their second victory at Scotstoun this season, the winger believes his teammates must keep up that defensive tenacity.
“We wanted to put a lot of pressure on their defence,” said Van der Merwe, discussing December’s 23-7 win over Glasgow.
“They’ve got a great backline but if you put some pressure on them then sometimes they are going to force it. I was lucky enough to be in that space where I got the interception and lucky enough to run to the line. I was delighted about that.”
That defensive fight has seen the capital side come out on top in a number of high-pressure fixtures.
In this month’s come-from-behind win over Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets, the capital side ramped up their defence to force the Welsh side into a number of errors – one of which led to a Jaco van der Walt intercepted score.
“We’ve got a lot of fight in our squad. We have come back in previous games when we were down. We were down at Scarlets but we came back when it was a must-win for us."
“This weekend is also a must-win. We’ve got the skills. We’ve got a good attacking system so I would back the boys, even if we are down.”
Although Edinburgh know that a bonus-point win at Scotstoun will secure at least the fourth-place play-off spot, Van der Merwe insists that he and his teammates will be simply be focused on the performance rather than the result.
And the winger believes that if the capital side patiently stick to that offensive system that has proved so successful against Glasgow this season, then the points and result will eventually come.
“We are obviously aware of the bonus point,” added van der Merwe, “but we still need to be patient. We still need to stick to our system and the way we play.
“We’re not going to go out on Saturday and do something we haven’t done. Our system has been working for us. We know we need to get five points, we will just focus on three points, five points and see where we get.
“Edinburgh always does well against Glasgow for some reason. The boys have done well in pitching up and getting the win. I don’t think they like the way we play. They play a faster brand of rugby and we obviously try to slow it down and play our style of rugby. I don’t think they like that.”
“We just need to forget about the bonus point and stick to the system.”