KOBE – South African expat winger DTH van der Merwe will make a record 15th Rugby World Cup appearance for Canada when he lines up against his native South Africa in their Pool B clash at the Kobe Stadium on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Van der Merwe will move past Rod Snow and Jamie Cudmore on the Canadian all-time list and could join Brian Lima, Brian O’Driscoll, Gareth Thomas and Adam Ashley-Cooper as the only players to score tries in four different World Cups if he crosses the whitewash against the Springboks.
It was DTH (Daniel Tailliferre Hauman) who helped secure Canada’s spot at the 2019 Rugby World Cup when he scored two of three tries for Canada against Hong Kong in November 2018.
Van der Merwe told reporters in Japan on Sunday that he’s looking forward to Tuesday’s clash.
“It’s special and something I have looked forward to my whole career, to play against South Africa. Especially as this is my last World Cup.
“I played against them in sevens back in the day, but this is an opportunity I am really looking forward to.”
Van der Merwe, who emigrated to Canada in 2003 and made his debut for the team three years later, has vast experience in European rugby with Scottish club Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets in Wales and a brief spell with Newcastle Falcons in England.
But he admits there is little that can prepare him for the physicality of a meeting with the Springboks.
“They are well-coached, they have got a physical pack that is complimented with a really speedy backline. For us it is just an opportunity to measure ourselves against one of the best teams in the world.
“They are a great squad from 1-31, it doesn’t matter who they pick those guys will perform and do their best. But we have done our homework on some things that hopefully we can exploit on Tuesday.”
Another South Africa-born player, centre Guiseppe du Toit, joined the Canadian squad this week as an injury replacement and will start on the bench.
Canadian Coach Kingsley Jones has made six changes to the side that lost 63-0 to world champions New Zealand in their last outing, with a completely new front row.
(Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Toby Davis and Tony Lawrence/Reuters and Jenni Baxter/SAPeople)
WATCH Awesome Try by Van Der Merwe Against Ireland in 2015 Rugby World Cup
To round off our #RWC2019 focus on Rugby Canada here's lethal finisher DTH Van Der Merwe showing a clean pair of heels against Ireland in 2015
Posted by Rugby World Cup on Monday, February 25, 2019