Duane responds to criticism: 'It's not as easy as people think'
REACTION: Springbok star Duane Vermeulen has opened on the mental and emotional challenges the Bok squad endured over the last few weeks.
The Boks ended their Rugby Championship campaign with a 31-29 win over New Zealand on the Gold Coast after spending six weeks in Queensland, Australia.
They spent two weeks in quarantine after their arrival in advance of their matches versus the Wallabies and the All Blacks.
Earlier this year the Boks were also in strict bubbles for home matches against Georgia and the British and Irish Lions. They were also in a bubble in Port Elizabeth for their two Rugby Championship matches against Argentina ahead of the trip to Australia.
The Boks lost twice to Australia and once to New Zealand before that epic win against their arch-rivals on Saturday.
“You have got the public and media that got their opinion on what we do on tour and things we go through,” Vermeulen told reporters after Saturday’s match.
“If you are not here you don’t really understand the whole thing that we are going through.
“It’s difficult and people say it’s your job, but we don’t really listen to the public’s opinion.
“It’s not as easy as people think. You are away from home, you are away from your family and you don’t see your kids.
“That’s [family] vital to your mental state and where you are as a person and as a player.”
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‘It’s good vibes’
Vermeulen said it was difficult adjusting to life in Australia, but he hopes his team can build on Saturday’s positive result during their end-of-year tour in November.
The Springboks play Wales (November 6), Scotland (November 13) and England (November 20) to end the international season.
“I think our first two weeks [in Australia] we were in hard lockdown. We couldn’t do anything and we had no support in the hotel and you have to do all your things on your own,” Vermeulen added.
“It’s a whole different setup out there and once you are out of quarantine it’s a whole different thing as well.
“We got to keep on adjusting to what’s thrown at us and sometimes it is difficult.
“At the end, we got it all together and walked away with a win at the end of our tour.
“It’s good vibes and good energy now and hopefully we can take that positive energy going into an end-of-year tour.
“We got two weeks off back home and then we go on another five or six-week tour.”