South Africa and Australia meet in the first semi-final at 11:15am, and Van der Merwe is in no mood to attempt to play down the significance of the occasion for the Proteas.
“Saturday is go big or go home. For us, we need to start from the first centre pass to the last centre pass, going 100%.
“A game against the Aussies is always a physical game. I think Norma (Plummer, the South Africa coach, who is from Australia) will be excited, going against her home team.
“For us, going against the Aussies, it’s very important for us to keep possession of the ball and make sure our centre passes are executed into goals. If we get turnovers, we need to make sure we get that into goals. The team that makes the least mistakes is the one that will win on the day.”
The defender has enjoyed her experience of the tournament so far, which has included her adding five caps to her name, taking her total to 28 appearances for her country.
Van der Merwe said:
“We are having a blast, not just netball-wise but the vibe and the atmosphere here in Liverpool is great. We were here in January but it’s a much different atmosphere with all the people from different countries supporting netball.
“It’s been amazing for us. It’s the first time in 25 years that we have made the semi-finals, so people back home will be proud of us.”
Having faced the hosts, England, in their last game, Van der Merwe knows the power that the crowd can have, with the atmosphere electric whenever Tracey Neville’s side are on court.
“Everybody likes supporting England. It’s home ground, so obviously competing against the team and the crowd is sometimes difficult, but it’s just amazing to see that the people love netball. If anything good happens on court, there is a cheer (for either team).”
With the huge test of 11-time champions Australia next up, Van der Merwe believes that facing England in their final Group G was very good preparation for the challenge to come.
“There is always room for improvement. Our main focus was on Saturday whatever happened (against England), but for us, it was good competitive netball throughout the 60 minutes – good preparation going into the semi-finals.
“Always going up against England is very physical, but I think (nowadays) it’s not a non-contact sport. It doesn’t matter who you’re going up against, it’s always going to be very physical and a challenge for both sides.”