Duane Vermeulen (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Springbok newcomer Duane Vermeulen is proud and relieved to finally be a part of the Springbok camp ahead of the side's Australasian leg of their Rugby Championship campaign, he said on Friday.
"It's a great feeling for me. I've been working at this for quite a few years now and to be able to get here is a dream come true.
"I'm pleased to finally have got the opportunity and I think coach Heyneke [Meyer] has shown a lot of trust in me.
"I feel great. I believe you have to believe in yourself and when the time comes, you must take it as an opportunity."
Vermeulen, fellow newcomer Johan Goosen, and the rest of the Springbok side depart for Perth, Australia on Saturday evening.
They had a training session on Friday and will wrap up their preparations on Saturday morning with a final morning session.
The Stormers flank admitted that he and his team-mates still had issues to iron out before they take to the field next weekend, but he was confident the team had what it took to improve on their previous display, when they scraped a 16-16 draw against Argentina in Mendoza.
"After last weekend, there was probably a bad feeling that we drew, but I think there are a lot of positives to draw from the game and now it's all about improving small issues that went wrong," he said.
"I think we now have to go to Perth and turn the result around. The tournament is still long, so hopefully we have time to improve on that."
Vermeulen said Meyer phoned him on Tuesday evening to break the news of his inclusion in the touring party.
"I got a personal call from Heyneke and he said he wanted to tell me personally, so that it comes from his side, and to tell me that I'm part of the Australasian tour," he said.
"To finally be part of the squad and to be one of the guys is a great feeling."
The former Cheetahs forward said he relished the prospect of the physical encounters that lay ahead overseas, and had worked hard to return to full fitness in an attempt to demand a place in the starting line-up.
"One can always improve, so there is always something to work on. I'm in the gym every day, busy with rehabilitation and conditioning," he said.
"The physical aspect of the game is definitely not something that scares me. I quite enjoy the physical battle.
"I must say, I weighed myself on Monday in Cape Town and I weighed this morning again and I've lost three kilograms, so I think there has been some good work that we've been doing."