Coach, van der Merwe delighted after Wales win in landmark Test

Koch gets his 50Th Test cap, Van der Merwe was one of four players to make his Springbok debut and he scored his first Test try to crown Van der Merwe and was awarded the man of the match award.

The coach, who started the match alongside fellow prop Ox Ense and hooker Malcolm Marks in the Rugby World Cup-winning front row, said the win made the occasion even more extraordinary.

“My 50th was greatTh Test,” said the coach. “It was a dream come true, and the boys were incredible.

„I’m really proud of the team. They showed real character in the second half to get the win.

The experienced prop added: “Winning my 50Th The game was amazing. These opportunities don’t come around every day, so I’m very proud.

The occasion of being run out in the green and gold for the first time was equally memorable for van der Merwe, who said: „Playing my first Test was an incredible experience and it was very humbling to receive the man of the match award.

„The way we prepared the last two weeks gave me a lot of confidence in the systems and it allowed me to be myself.”

While such an occasion can come with some nerves for most players, Van der Merwe said the experienced players around him had kept him at ease since Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus announced his matchday squad on Tuesday.

„There’s no real nervousness, so I can be Edville,” the fast bowler said. „People around me like Jesse (Greal) and Magasole (Mabimbi) gave me a lot of confidence by always chatting to me, which made my job easier.”

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Rising to the occasion, he was one of the try-scorers as the Boks scored four tries and earned a penalty try.

„I called Grant (Williams) a ball off his shoulder and I couldn’t believe it when I got over the tryline,” van der Merwe said. „I was overcome with emotion and it took me a while to take it all in because it was so special.”

The Boks leave for South Africa on Sunday night ahead of a Test series against Ireland, and the coach said the win gave them confidence and allowed them to build momentum in their historic Castle Lager incoming series against Portugal. Taking part in the Test series against Ireland, who are ranked second in the world.

„Our performance wasn’t perfect, but we showed glimpses of the good things we can create,” the coach said. „The youngsters putting their hands up is a good sign for South African rugby, so we’re looking forward to the Tests against Ireland and Portugal.”

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