Cape Town - Duane Vermeulen may be set to make his Test debut for South Africa against Australia in Perth on Saturday but the powerful eighthman said that he is not feeling nervous ahead of one of the biggest games of his career.
Duane Vermeulen (Gallo Images)
According to the supersport.com website, Vermeulen’s career has been dogged by injury, this year he has battled with a knee injury, otherwise he would have made his test debut some time ago so he could be forgiven for having a few butterflies ahead of the Rugby Championship clash with the Wallabies but the 26-year-old said that the old hands in the South Africa squad had helped to calm him down.
“My nerves are alright. There are a few experienced players around who have helped me to feel comfortable.
“I think it will only be on Saturday when I first feel it has come true. I am almost through the door but the reality will only kick on Saturday,” he told reporters in Perth on Wednesday soon after Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer had unveiled his team for South Africa’s third Rugby Championship match of the season.
Vermeulen will be expected to help South Africa win the breakdown battle against Australia, an area in which the Springboks struggled against Argentina in their recent 16-all draw in Mendoza.
Vermeulen said that the team had concentrated on their work at the breakdown during training and he was confident that they could gain the upper hand against a team which are held in high regard for their work in the contact area.
“We have decided this week to concentrate on our cleaning out. We know that they are dangerous at the breakdown so we focussed on that. I think we just have to be clinical and make sure that we do our job properly at the breakdown. I’m looking forward to that battle,” he said with a grin.
Vermeulen will be up against the formidable figure of Radike Samo who has been recalled to the Wallaby run-on XV after coming off the bench during Australia’s humbling 22-0 loss to the All Blacks in Auckland.
However, Vermeulen was not too concerned about the prospect of playing against Samo preferring instead to concentrate on his own game.
“He (Samo) is a good ball carrier and he is a lineout option but it is not so much about how he is going to play but more focus on how we want to play. If you do your job properly then you should always beat your opponent,” he explained.
Vermeulen conceded that Australia have a very streetwise pack of forwards with the likes of hooker Stephen Moore and props Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson more than capable with coming up with a few new tricks but said he was confident that the Boks were prepared for anything.
“They will come up with new tricks in the scrum it doesn’t matter who they are playing against. They are experienced enough to know what will work against certain opponents. But I think we are prepared for whatever they serve up, he said.