Van der Merwe ran from inside his own half, covering 55 metres, while evading five-would be England tacklers to score the second of Scotland’s four tries as the visitors retained the Calcutta Cup in thrilling style.
The Edinburgh wing then proved to be the match-winner six minutes from time when, with England leading by a point, he went over for his second try of the match.
But it was his 28th-minute arcing-run effort that came in for special praise from Townsend, who likened the score to something seen in a video game based on the exploits of late New Zealand great Lomu.
“It was incredible, wasn’t it?,” he said after Scotland’s third win in a row over England and only their sixth victory at Twickenham.
“It reminded me of when, for everybody of a certain age, you played ‘Jonah Lomu Rugby’ and suddenly one person can go quicker.
“Duhan hasn’t had much rugby over the last few weeks. He’s trained really well with us but to play like he did today on the back of an injury, and not playing for Edinburgh, is real testament to how he’s got himself in this position, both mentally and physically.
“That first try was amazing, and one that gets the Scotland supporters going crazy in the stand and silences everyone else because you don’t see tries like that very often.”
Scotland had to come from behind in front of a Twickenham crowd of over 81,000.
In spite of Van Der Merwe’s stunning effort, they were 13-12 behind at half-time following Max Malins’ first two tries for England and a penalty from home captain Owen Farrell.
England extended their lead to 20-12 thanks to prop Ellis Genge’s close-range try.
But Scotland hit back through a sniping try from scrum-half Ben White, before Van Der Merwe’s second score sealed a win that, unlike two years ago when they triumphed behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions, was savoured by a raucous travelling support.
“I felt a lot of emotion at the final whistle,” said Townsend. “I don’t know whether it was because of the noise or the occasion.”
Townsend, who as a Scotland international lost nine of his 10 Tests against England, with a lone win at Murrayfield, added: “I never came close to winning here (Twickenham) when I was a player and to do it now when you’re part of a team that does get a win.
“Two years ago there was no crowd here, so to do it today was emotional.”
But he warned this success would count for little if it wasn’t backed up against Wales, beaten 34-10 by Ireland earlier Saturday, at Murrayfield next weekend.
“It will mean nothing if we don’t recover, train well and improve next week. In the last two Six Nations we have played Wales after beating England and we haven’t won.”
Borthwick, appointed in succession to Eddie Jones after England were booed off the field at Twickenham following a lacklustre loss to world champions South Africa last time out in November, was understandably frustrated.
“Clearly we’re disappointed with the result,” he said. “Scotland have controlled this fixture in recent years and I thought they were very good.
He added: “We were hit by a couple of scores in that first half that came out of nowhere really.
“At 20-12 up, we shouldn’t be letting that game get away from us, but we did.”
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