Scotland wants to amaze in Italy despite Duhan van der Merwe’s absence

Scotland wants to amaze in Italy despite Duhan van der Merwe's absence

Scotland would complete the Guinness Book of Records campaign without Duhan van der Merwe.

The 26-year-old was banned for three weeks after being sent off for an irresponsible or dangerous game during Worcester’s loss to the London Irish in the Calcutta Premiership on Saturday.

He was not available for Gregor Downcent’s remaining matches against Italy and Ireland.

The rest of the Scottish squad will travel to Rome knowing the title will not be available, but Mark Bennett is unlikely to see Saturday’s clash meaningless.


Mark Bennett can’t wait to take the opportunity (Steve Welsh / PA)

The 29-year-old Edinburgh center fears his international career is over when he retired from film following his 22nd appearance against the United States in June 2018.

After a good start to the current season with his club, he was called up again for the autumn trials in Scotland, but was ruled out due to injury.

However, after waiting for more than three-and-a-half years, he is back on the pitch for his country instead of losing to France last month. Now it aspires to continue its international renaissance in Rome this weekend.

“Being back in the team means I’ve been shooting for the last few years and haven’t been able to reach them, so it’s incredible to be back there against France,” he said. “I really enjoyed it, so if I get the chance again this weekend, I’ll taste it.”

Bennett agrees that if the Scots are to resume their Six Nations campaign after losses to Wales and France, the Scots will have to suppress discriminatory home crowds at the Stadium Olympics.

“It’s a great place to play rugby,” he said. “The Italian public will always be very excited. We have to start fast and they don’t have to wind up on the gliders because they’re on one side so when they climb over you and pick up speed, you have to find a way to stop it.”


Scotland travel to Italy in search of victory after a series of defeats (David Davies/PA)

Bennett insisted there was still a lot to play in the final two matches against Scotland, Italy and Ireland.

“Our aim is to finish the tournament with a win again,” he said. “We have to win this weekend, it’s the most important match at the moment. We’re on the good side, so we’ve made sure we’re ready.

“If you look at the last few matches, we have missed a few chances. We are disappointed to have missed a few things in the match against France and we want to sort it out. In the background, we’re very excited about the opportunity to come out this weekend and show us what we have. We want to amend.

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