VIDEO: Jasper Wiese on the Duane Vermeulen factor
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok Jasper Wiese is fully aware of the huge responsibility that comes with wearing the No.8 jersey.
Wiese started at No.8 against Argentina in the Rugby Championship opener on Saturday.
Having made his Test debut last month, the 25-year-old produced a stellar performance and won the Man of the Match award during the Springboks’ 32-12 victory.
The individual accolade is very significant, given he had to go up against Los Pumas No.8 Rodrigo Bruni and experienced loose forwards Facundo Isa and Pablo Matera.
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When asked about his latest performance, Wiese said: “Even though I got the Man of the Match [award], it was a team performance and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the guys around me.
“At the Springboks, it’s not about you as an individual but you are playing for something much bigger than yourself.”
Aside from having huge praise for the match-day squad, Wiese credited stalwart Duane Vermeulen for his off-field guidance and support.
Wiese has been used as No.8 in the absence of injured Vermeulen.
“No one can replace Duane,” Wiese admitted.
“He has a presence about him and ever since he joined the camp, he has been actively talking to the guys and guiding everyone at training.
“It is big boots to fill, and I don’t know if I will [fill them].
“I do know that he will be massive when he comes back.
“Although he is not playing, he helps the guys and I don’t think anyone can fill his boots.
“He [Vermeulen] is a massive unit.
“All I can only try my best,” Wiese added.