Six Nations: Duhan van der Merwe’s try was ‘something out of Jonah Lomu Rugby’
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend likened Duhan van der Merwe’s outstanding try to one scored on a PlayStation in his side’s stunning 29-23 win over England.
The wing showed tremendous pace and power to run more than 50 metres, beating five tackles to score a very strong contender for try of the tournament.
Van der Merwe was not only the hero for his long-range try, but the decisive five-pointer scored late on to down the Red Rose.
Townsend lauded the superstar wing for both his tries in what was a stunning performance.
He said: “It was incredible, wasn’t it? It reminded me of when, for everybody of a certain age, you played Jonah Lomu Rugby and suddenly one person can go quicker.
“Duhan hasn’t had much rugby over the last few weeks. He’s trained really well with us but to play like he did today on the back of an injury, and not playing for Edinburgh, is real testament to how he’s got himself in this position, both mentally and physically.
“And I almost saw a different side to Duhan there as he stepped and then accelerated away.
“His finish for the last try was similar to two years ago (an 11-6 victory) when he finished in the opposite corner.
“It was a brilliant finish but that first try was amazing, and one that gets the Scotland supporters going crazy in the stand and silences everyone else because you don’t see tries like that very often.”
Townsend admitted it is emotional to get a win at Twickenham and one in front of travelling Scottish fans. The coach had beaten England in their previous trip to the famous ground two years ago but the game was played behind closed doors.
“I felt a lot of emotion at the final whistle,” said Townsend. “I don’t know whether it was because of the noise or the occasion.
“I never came close to winning here when I was a player and to do it now when you’re part of a team that does get a win. Two years ago there was no crowd here, so to do it today was emotional.
“We celebrate our wins so we had a bit of fun in the changing room.”
Challenging start for Borthwick
Meanwhile, Steve Borthwick, whose reign as England head coach starts with a loss, credited Scotland for their performance and wants his side to learn and grow from this.
“Clearly we’re disappointed with the result,” he said. “Scotland have controlled this fixture in recent years and I thought they were very good.
“They didn’t get a lot of chances but the chances they got they took ruthlessly. We need to make sure we limit those chances. They moved the ball very well from deep in attack.
“We saw some growth, particularly in the attacking side of the game. The team looked like they had points in them and try-scoring potential. But we want to win and we’re disappointed that we didn’t.
“We were hit by a couple of scores in that first half that came out of nowhere really.
“The team responded incredibly well because if you had rewound a bit, the team wouldn’t have reacted in the way it did.
“To go into half-time up was credit to the players. At 20-12 up, we shouldn’t be letting that game get away from us, but we did.
“We’ll have a good look at it and part of growing as a team is going through some pain. We could have won that game but didn’t.”
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