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Six Nations 2022: Duhan van der Merwe out of the championship after two-match ban

Scotland's Duhan van der Merwe.
Scotland's Duhan van der Merwe.

Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe is out of the rest of this season’s Guinness Six Nations after receiving a two-match ban for a red card.

An RFU disciplinary panel handed down a ban until March 25 as a result of the straight red shown in Worcester’s Gallagher Premiership game against London Irish.

The 26-year-old was deemed to have dangerously fended off Scotland squad colleague Kyle Rowe with a forearm.

‘High danger’ factors

At the hearing held remotely Van der Merwe had accepted foul play had occurred but “questioned whether the red card threshold had been met” according to a statement from the RFU.

Panel chair Jeremy Summers said they had determined van der Merwe “had sufficient time and opportunity to execute a lawful hand-off but failed to do so.”

“The contact he then made to an opponent’s head was direct, at speed and involved a leading forearm. All are factors pointing to high danger and a red card in World Rugby’s Head Contact Process,” continued the statement.

“No low danger or mitigating factors were present. Whilst some may feel it resulted in a harsh outcome, the referee correctly applied the HCP.”

Van der Merwe has scored 10 tries in just 16 appearances for Scotland.

Townsend’s tricky options for Rome

Scotland now face a tricky selection dilemma for Italy in Rome on Saturday. Rufus McLean, who started on the wing against Tonga and South Africa during the November tests, is out injured.

Candidates to replace van der Merwe include – ironically – Rowe, who would be winning his first cap. Glasgow’s Kyle Steyn, who scored four tries against Tonga, is also in the reckoning.

Gregor Townsend may however turn to Blair Kinghorn. The Edinburgh played was on the wing against Italy in 2019, scoring a hat-trick of tries. He also played on the wing in the win in Rome in 2020.

Kinghorn is now seen as a stand-off by his club Edinburgh and the international management team. But with Adam Hastings recalled to the squad there is scope to play him in a position where he has won the majority of his international caps

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