Duhan van der Merwe: Edinburgh wing reveals he failed club medical

Duhan van der Merwe
Duhan van der Merwe has scored 28 tries in 53 Edinburgh appearances
European Challenge Cup Pool 3: Edinburgh v Agen
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium Date: Saturday, 18 January Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland and follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Winger Duhan van der Merwe believes Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill helped save his career by signing him despite a failed medical.

South African Van der Merwe, who signed a new contract this week, was battling a long-standing hip injury when he joined from Montpellier in 2017.

The 24-year-old feared he may have to retire had the deal not come off.

"I got the opportunity to come to Edinburgh and then I failed my medical," said Van der Merwe.

"I thought, where next? If I fail that and Cockers didn't say, 'Nah, I want to keep him', that's probably me. Who is going to rehab me?

"My head was all over the place. I didn't really know where to go next. I'm really happy Edinburgh gave me an opportunity and looked after me."

Cockerill has lauded Van der Merwe - who has scored 28 tries in 53 games - as "one of the most dangerous attacking players in Europe".

The 6ft 4in former junior Springbok becomes eligible for Scotland through residency before the national side's tour of his homeland in the summer.

"I want to test myself against the best out there. If I get the opportunity one day to play Test rugby, I'll definitely want to give it a shot see where I'm at," the winger added.

"The most important thing of all is that Cockers backs me. He's backed me since the beginning when I arrived with a broken hip and that gives me a lot of confidence.

"The softer skills of the game and defensively I'm a much better player than when I arrived."

After losing to Top 14 leaders Bordeaux-Begles on Saturday, Edinburgh can guarantee progression to the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals with victory over Agen at Murrayfield on Friday.

The French side are bottom of their domestic league and have not picked up a single point in five pool 3 matches.

"We weren't at our best against Bordeaux-Begles but we've still got an opportunity to qualify," Van der Merwe said.

"It's really important to get five points against Agen. They will come hard at us, they're going to chuck it about and then be physical. We need to get five points on the board and then two weeks off."

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