Vermeulen v Notshe - Take Two
SPRINGBOK TRIAL: It is not often you get a second bite of the apple, just a week after your first taste.
However, Saturday’s Springbok trial at Newlands will afford Sikhumbuzo Notshe the chance of redemption when he faces off against Duane Vermeulen.
Last week at Loftus Versfeld Vermeulen was on the credit side of the ledger – as a charged-up Bulls team demolished an underwhelming Sharks outfit 49-28 in an entertaining affair.
This week the contest goes up a few levels – one of many intriguing head-to-head battles in the Green versus Gold outing in Cape Town.
The battle of the loose forwards will be particularly testy affair – a face-off between contrasting styles.
The Green team has World Cup winners Duane Vermeulen (34, 54 Tests) and Siya Kolisi (World Cup captain, 29, 50 Tests), backed up by Arno Botha (28, two Tests).
The Gold team also has three Boks – Sikhumbuzo Notshe (27, six Tests) and Nizaam Carr (29, five Tests), backed up by Marco van Staden (25, three Tests).
Deon Davids, the Gold team coach, said there are some ‘special talent’ spread across both teams and that will make for some intriguing contests.
“Looking at the gentleman sitting next to me [Sikhumbuzo Notshe], playing against an experienced campaigner like [World Cup-winning Bok No.8] Duane Vermeulen, that would be a great match-up,” Davids said in a virtual media briefing this week.
“Also, the match-up between the No.9s and the No.10s is going to be very interesting to see,” he said of Elton Jantjies and Sanele Nohamba (Green) versus Damian Willemse and Herschel Jantjies (Gold).
Notshe said it is ‘very special’ being in the Springbok environment for the first time since 2018 – when he came off the bench in a heartbreaking (30-32) loss to the All Blacks in Pretoria.
“It is nice to see some old face, former Stormers teammates,” he said of the build-up to Saturday’s Newlands outing.
“I am enjoying myself.”
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He is looking forward to the contest between the highly-rated loose forward combinations.
“It will be tough going up against World Cup-winning loose forwards in Duane [Vermeulen] and Siya [Kolisi], while Arno Botha] is an experienced campaigner who has also played for the Boks before.
“However, Nemo [Carr], Marco [van Staden] and I have also played for the Boks before.
“We may not have the same amount of experience, but it is good to measure yourself against the best.
“We are looking forward to it and we are excited.”
He admitted it will be two very contrasting styles of loose forward play.
“We will complement each other well,” he said of the Gold team combination, adding: “Marco likes the ground work, while Nemo and myself enjoy roaming.”