Boks to 'keep things simple' at Twickenham
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok No.8 Duane Vermeulen admitted they are in for a very gruelling breakdown battle against England on Saturday at Twickenham.
The last time these two sides met was at the 2019 World Cup Final in Japan, where South Africa were 32-12 victors.
However, Vermeulen who was named the Man of the match that day, revealed a lot has changed since then.
“We had a look at how we played and how England played, and obviously things have changed over the last couple of years,” Vermeulen said.
“We’ve seen some of their games, and they play a little bit different if the game opens up a bit. You always play to your strengths, but I must say they have brought in a lot of new guys who bring a bit more excitement to the game – in their forwards and backline. It’s nice to see them using guys who are on form.
“But Test-match rugby is Test-match rugby, and if you are new, it might shock you a bit as it’s a whole different thing to playing at club level.
“But if you get an opportunity, you’ve got to play. We will see what we get on Saturday, but it’s a team with a lot of skill and a lot of pace, and they’re a team who back themselves.”
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‘Keep things simple’
Despite a couple of new faces, Vermeulen admitted he and his fellow loose forwards Siya Kolisi and Albertus ‘Kwagga’ Smith will have to brace themselves for a formidable breakdown battle against the likes of Tom Curry, Sam Underhill and Courtney Lawes.
“I played against Tom Curry and Sam Underhill in the 2019 RWC final and Courtney Lawes was the other flank,” Vermeulen said.
“They are really good at the breakdown, so this will be a different task and a great battle for us. As a loose trio we like to keep things simple and we generally try to build on how we played the previous week.
“Curry is a massive nuisance at the ruck. He’s really good at his job, and he does really well. I haven’t come up against [Sam] Simmonds and [Alex] Dombrandt – I’ve only watched them for their clubs, where they have been really outstanding”
When asked about former Springbok forwards coach Matt Proudfoot’s impact, Vermeulen said: “He [Matt Proudfoot] and I share a lot of special things. He knows my whole history from growing up.
“We worked together at the Stormers so we’ve known each other for quite some time and obviously you build good relationships.
“But we will be playing against the players he coached and not going up against him, so there might be a trick or two up our sleeves and there might be a one or two from England.
“We really don’t know. We can only see that on the day.
“But he knows my way of thinking and what I stand for, so you never know what’s coming,”