Duhan van der Merwe has his sights set on becoming Scotland’s all-time record try scorer after his match-winning hat-trick in the Calcutta Cup win on Satirday.  

The Edinburgh wing now has 26 tries in 37 caps since his debut against Georgia in the autumn of 2020. That puts him just one behind Stuart Hogg’s record of 27, which the former captain amassed from a century of appearances.  

His treble at Scottish Gas Murrayfield also saw van der Merwe become the first Scot to score a hat-trick in the oldest international fixture.  

The 28-year-old said it was a “bloody special” moment before downplaying two of his scores as “walk-ins”  

He said the try record has been in his thoughts since the start of the championship. The Lions wing must now be short odds to surpass Hogg’s tally when Scotland travel to Rome in two weeks' time.  

READ MORE: Five things we learned from Scotland's Calcutta Cup win

Van der Merwe added: “When the Six Nations started, that was something I was targeting. I knew I had to get seven in five games and hopefully I’m on track. 

“There’s two games left and I think I need two more [to get the record outright]. 

“Hopefully I can achieve that. It would obviously be very special for me and my family.” 

The first of his three tries – finishing a break from Huw Jones - came at a crucial time, with Scotland 10-0 down and struggling to get a foothold in the game.  

"England started off with a bang,” he said.  

“We made a couple of mistakes here and there - they put us under a lot of pressure, and we probably needed some points on the board.  

“It was unbelievable for Huw to do that, then I just saw an opportunity and was lucky to finish it off.” 

Scotland Rugby News: Duhan van der Merwe completes his hat-trickDuhan van der Merwe completes his hat-trick (Image: SNS)

After the ball bounced off George Furbank’s head and found its way to van der Merwe via Jones once more, the winger took off down the left touchline and outstripped Henry Slade for his second score.  

Gregor Townsend admitted to some nerves about van der Merwe putting a foot in touch, and the winger said he had to watch it back on the big screen before he was certain he’d avoided the touchline.

He said: “Oh I look back and I was wondering if I’m in touch, but when they gave it I was Iike, ‘I’m obviously not in touch’, so I’m quite happy with that.” 

But he insisted the third try was all down to the well-placed kick from Finn Russell.  

“I just saw the ball bounce into my hands, and I knew that was going to be my first hat-trick for Scotland, so I was lucky with that one,” he added.  

His Murrayfield hat-trick and a double in the win over Wales have taken van der Merwe clear of his Edinburgh colleague Darcy Graham – who is now expected to miss the rest of the championship injured.  

 READ MORE: Scotland enjoying 'great period' of success in Calcutta Cup, says Gregor Townsend

But when he returns, van der Merwe knows he’ll be chasing down the try-scoring record too.  

He said: “We’ve obviously for a competition going on but while he’s out I’ll be looking to take my opportunity. 

“But I know once he’s back he’ll score a couple as well.” 

Van der Merwe, who was born in George, South Africa arrived in Scotland seven years ago from Montpellier, where he had only played two professional matches.  

His rise since has been meteoric and he should now be considered one of Test rugby’s premier finishers. For van der Merwe, though, his try-scoring exploits are about repaying the faith shown to him by his adopted homeland. 

He said: “When I came over in 2017, there was never the thought of playing for Scotland because the only thing I could think about was playing for Edinburgh. 

Scotland Rugby News: Duhan van der Merwe celebrates with his back-three colleagues Blair Kinghorn and Kyle SteynDuhan van der Merwe celebrates with his back-three colleagues Blair Kinghorn and Kyle Steyn (Image: SNS)

“I had to stay for three years before I’d become eligible for Scotland but it was never guaranteed that I’d come over and automatically just end up playing for Scotland. 

“It doesn’t work like that. I had to perform for my club and then there’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into that. 

“But I love playing for Scotland and I’m just so happy at how everything has turned out.” 

When asked if he was proud at representing Scotland, he added: “Oh 100 percent.  

“When I come in on the bus on game days, I look at all our fans and I think, ‘How can I give back to Scotland because this country has given me so much?’ 

“I guess with my performances, that is giving back to our fans." 

Despite a fourth successive Calcutta Cup win, van der Merwe knows it wasn’t a perfect team performance and knows they will need to be better if they are to round off the championship with two more wins when they visit Rome and Dublin next month.  

READ MORE: Townsend talks up Scotland resilience after England triumph

He said: “We’ll take the win but we felt like we missed a couple of opportunities out there. We weren’t at our best today, we know that.  

“We’ve got a special group, and we want to get better and better and better. If that means taking it game by game, then so be it. But we have a special group and the boys love playing for each other."