Lions wing Duhan van der Merwe has revealed the 'special' reactions of Welshmen Josh Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit after he was selected ahead of them to start the first Test.

Scot van der Merwe will line-up opposite Cheslin Kolbe when the Test series between the world champions South Africa and the Lions gets underway on Saturday.

Adams' omission from the 23 in particular caused much debate after scoring more tries than any other player during the warm-up matches.

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But it is van der Merwe - who has been extremely effective with ball in hand - that has got the nod this weekend.

Adams, he says, was the first to congratulate him.

"They've been class in training," he said of the two Welshmen. "It's difficult for us but it's exactly what we need.

"We're a tight group of boys and we back each other. Josh has been in excellent form and so has Zammo.

"Josh came up to me after they announced the squad and he was the first guy to do that. He was absolutely buzzing for me so that's really special.

"Zammo came up to me and asked if I wanted anything on the pitch in terms of help or work-ons, he'd be there for me. That's really special from him."

This weekend, van der Merwe will have the unenviable job of keeping one of the world's most dangerous attackers, Cheslin Kolbe, quiet.

During the game against South Africa 'A', Kolbe was relatively anonymous but was presented with one chance and he created a try for Lukhanyo Am, proving just how threatening he is.

“I've never played against him. He has very good feet, he's a quick guy and he throws his body around so fair play to him," said van der Merwe.

"I'm looking forward to that challenge.

"He's a world class player. His ability to beat boys one-on-one is amazing. It's just staying on top of him, not giving him too much time on the ball.

"When it's my turn on the ball and I have my shot at him, he needs to defend me. It's not just me defending him. You have to look at it both ways."

Josh Adams and Duhan van der Merwe warm up together ahead of the captain's run

George in the Western Cape, van der Merwe will play against the country of his birth this weekend.

In 2017, he moved to play for Edinburgh and went on to represent Scotland via the residency rule before being selected to play for the Lions.

But he insists he doesn't hold any grudges after slipping through the net in South Africa.

“You know, I’ve got nothing to prove to them," he said.

"I came over, I play for Scotland, and the British & Irish Lions, I am just going to go out there and show what I can do.

"I don’t have any sour grapes, anything like that. It’s not about going out and showing them ‘oh you guys should have kept me’.

"I am happy with how everything we went, with my move, and fair play look where I am sitting now, I am absolutely buzzing now.

"I am happy with how things worked out for me.”

He added: "It's obviously good being back. A few people are asking me how it feels and it's a bit weird.

"Normally when I come back, I know I'm on holiday. I haven't had that feeling as I know we're here to do a job and win the series. Obviously it's nice being back in South Africa.

"The weather hasn't been too bad. It's good being back."

Because of his roots, outsiders have speculated that van der Merwe could be in for some extra verbals from the Springboks come Saturday evening.

Others have suggested they might even be gunning for him.

Duhan van der Merwe of the Lions goes over to score their side's second try

It's not something the man himself has worried too much about.

“In any game you play you'll always get some verbal abuse, people getting stuck into you," he admits.

"I'm pretty used to it. I know I'm going to get a few boys holding onto me, pushing me here and there, but I'm just going to avoid it and focus on my game.

“Every game you get some abuse – you just get used to it and get on with it. That's rugby. You'll always get some words here or there. It's all part of the game.”

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