Head-to-Head: Steff Evans v Duhan van der Merwe

Rich Dore
12 February 2020

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For Guinness PRO14 fans the past few weeks will have been a testing time as the Championship took a break to make way for the Guinness Six Nations.

Fear not, though, this weekend sees sides return to the field en masse as seven games take place with Saturday’s action looking particularly appealing.

The standout fixture sees Edinburgh travel to Wales as the high-flyers take on second-place Scarlets in a table-topping Conference B clash.

A battle between the top two is always likely to come down to who makes the most of their chances and both Edinburgh and Scarlets have men who can make the difference.

We’ve picked out two key players who could well go head-to-head in deciding the outcome of the game.

Steff Evans v Duhan van der Merwe

Points win prizes and any team with ambitions of claiming top spot in the Guinness PRO14 will need to have reliable scorers in their midst.

For Scarlets, Steff Evans has been the man to deliver the goods with six tries to his name already this term and he has considerable pedigree in the Championship.

The 2016/17 campaign was the 25-year-old’s most productive to date as he finished the season as the top try-scorer across the Guinness PRO14.

It is little surprise then to see the Welsh international leading Scarlets’ scoring charts again this term and he has been an attacking influence throughout the campaign.

With 33 defenders beaten, only two men, one of whom is Van der Merwe with a Guinness PRO14 high 45, have proven more elusive with ball in hand.

Evans is far more than just a fleet-footed flier, however, and has repeatedly shown excellent touch in contact with nine successful offloads during 2019/20.

In Van der Merwe Edinburgh will feel they have one of the most destructive backs in the Guinness PRO14 and will likely turn to the South African to provide x-factor at Parc y Scarlets.

Scarlets will need no reminding of Van der Merwe’s class and he claimed the man of the match award in their last Conference B meeting – scoring a hat-trick as Edinburgh cruised to a 46-7 victory.

He beat eight defenders in his most recent outing – the joint-most across Round 10 – and has gone over the whitewash five times this season.

Add to the mix 18 clean breaks and 599 metres gained and it is easy to see the impact the 24-year-old is having on Edinburgh’s campaign.

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