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Cockerill: van der Walt can shine for Scotland

Cockerill: van der Walt can shine for Scotland

Cockerill: van der Walt can shine for Scotland

South African-born fly-half Jaco van der Walt could make his Scotland debut in their final Autumn Nations Cup tie, and his club boss Richard Cockerill has backed him to succeed should he do so.

The 26-year-old Edinburgh man is the only addition to the Scotland squad that suffered a narrow 22-15 defeat to France in Round 2, bolstering the fly-half ranks which have been hampered by injuries to both Finn Russell and Adam Hastings.

Van der Walt was born in Randfontein but is now eligible for selection to Gregor Townsend’s side after qualifying on residency rules and could make his debut as soon as Scotland’s final contest in the tournament on finals weekend.

Edinburgh head coach Cockerill believes that elevation would not be beyond a player who he says has all the attributes to succeed at Test level.

“He is a very good player and someone who kicks his goals very well and is very physical and takes the ball to the line,” Cockerill said.

“He is a good defender and he is learning how to control the game by managing the people around him.

“He will have to be very good to compete with Duncan Weir, who is playing well at the moment, and Finn [Russell] and Adam [Hastings] are very good players.

“He will have to up his game to get in front of either of these guys. He is a good lad, a good player but until he plays at Test level you never really know, do you?

“He has worked really hard at his game and is very committed to want to qualify and play for Scotland.”

His first taste of international rugby could come against Italy in the third-place play-offs, likely Pool A runners-up, although Scotland will progress to the final should Franco Smith’s side beat France in Round 3.

Townsend’s men sit out this weekend, though, after their game against Fiji was cancelled.

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