Van der Merwe – the brother of Springbok hooker Akker – has been a sensation for Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14, and tops several of their stats after a disrupted season.

The 25-year-old has impressed all season topping out the Opta stats charts for defenders beaten (76), metres made (906) and clean breaks (31), while scoring seven tries and setting up two.

Additionally, Van der Merwe’s average of 5.6 defenders beaten per game set a new record for the Guinness PRO14 as he broke his own existing record of 5.3 that he set in 2017/18. Van der Merwe also ensures the award stays in the Scottish capital with team-mate Bill Mata earning the accolade last season.

"I feel hugely privileged to win this award," said Van der Merwe.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I could achieve something this big and it’s a brilliant feeling knowing that it was voted by the guys I face in the Guinness PRO14 week in, week out.

"Getting an award like this is massive for me and hopefully highlights that the hard work I’ve put in throughout my career is starting to pay off. I genuinely couldn’t have won this without the help of everyone at Edinburgh Rugby and I can’t wait to push the club further next season."

Van der Merwe, who played for the SA Schools and Junior Springbok sides before moving abroad, also played in the FNB Varsity Cup for Tuks and represented the Vodacom Blue Bulls at age-group level. He now has set his sights on playing for Scotland.

His coach at Edinburgh, Richard Cockerill, has been named the coach of the year.

Guinness PRO14 2020 Winners:

Guinness Players’ Player of the Season: Duhan van der Merwe |Edinburgh

Guinness PRO14 Coach of the Season: Richard Cockerill | Edinburgh

Next-Gen Star of the Season: Caelan Doris | Leinster

Gilbert Golden Boot: JJ Hanrahan | Munster

Ronseal Tackle Machine: Paul Boyle | Connacht

Big Red Cloud Turnover King: Josh MacLeod | Scarlets

Guinness PRO14 Top Try-scorer: Rhyno Smith | Toyota Cheetahs

Guinness PRO14 Ironman: Matthew Screech | Dragons


Dream Team 2019/20:

1 Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh)  

2 Joseph Dweba (Toyota Cheetahs)  

3 Leon Brown (Dragons)  

4 Scott Fardy (Leinster)  

5 Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh)  

6 Max Deegan (Leinster)  

7 Will Connors (Leinster)  

8 Bill Mata (Edinburgh)  

9 John Cooney (Ulster)  

10 Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh)  

11 Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh)  

12 Stuart McCloskey (Ulster)  

13 Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues)  

14 Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby)  

15 Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby)