Duhan van der Merwe to make British and Irish Lions debut

Warriors’ new recruit Duhan van der Merwe will make his debut for the British & Irish Lions Head Coach, against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday (kick-off 3.00pm).

The Scotland wing is one of a dozen new signings announced by Warriors ahead of the 2021/22 season having confirmed his summer move from Edinburgh Rugby earlier this year.

Van der Merwe will make his Lions debut as a starter in The Vodafone Lions 1888 Cup as an Edinburgh player but will officially become a Warrior when his contract starts on July 1 and will become only the second Lion to represent the club on the forthcoming tour of South Africa.

“We’re anticipating a tough game against Japan – a side that like to play at a high-tempo and shift the ball,” said Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland.

“We saw throughout the World Cup they have attacking threats across the park and a solid defence and set piece.

“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made during our training camp in Jersey so far, but we’ve a long way to go. You can see that the squad are starting to get to grips with our game strategies, but, as always with a Lions Tour, this takes time to bed in.

“We’re in a good place though and I can tell there’s a lot more to come from this group.

“Everyone in the squad will get a start before the start of the Test Series, so each member of the squad can put their hand up for Test selection.

“We are absolutely delighted to be playing in front of 16,000 supporters in Edinburgh. I’m sure the crowd will give the players an enormous lift before we depart for South Africa on Sunday.”

The Lions’ eight-game Tour to South Africa kicks off on Saturday July 3 when they play the Emirates Lions at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Three weeks later, Cape Town Stadium will host the opening Test match of the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series – the first Lions Test in the Mother City since 1997. The British and Irish tourists then return to Gauteng and play the second and third Tests at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday July 31 and August 8 respectively.

The Lions have toured South Africa on 13 previous occasions, with the first Tour taking place in 1891. In that time, the Lions have won four Test series, lost eight with one drawn. Their overall record against the Springboks is played 46, won 17, lost 23 and drawn six.

British and Irish Lions v Japan

15 Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833
14 Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales)
13 Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824
12 Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland)
11 Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
10 Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821
9 Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790
1 Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
2 Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829
3 Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
4 Iain Henderson (Ulster Rugby, Ireland) #808
5 Alun Wyn Jones – Captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761
6 Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby, Ireland)
7 Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland)
8 Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland)

16 Jamie George (Saracens, England) #819
17 Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales)
18 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818
19 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826
20 Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby, Wales) #779
21 Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
22 Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) #780
23 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, England) #816