High praise for Vermeulen, Pollard

2014-10-30 10:42
Joe Schmidt (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has singled out Duane Vermeulen and Handre Pollard as danger men as his side prepare to face the Springboks in Dublin next Saturday.

The Boks start their year-end European tour against the Irish at Aviva Stadium on Saturday, November 8. On the tour, they will also face England (London, November 15), Italy (Padova, November 22) and Wales (Cardiff, November 29).

Ireland, currently ranked 5th on the IRB rankings, have been solid performers under Schmidt as coach and were unlucky to lose to the All Blacks at home last year, when a last-gasp try gave New Zealand a 24-22 win.

Ireland will be looking to carry that form into the November internationals but Schmidt is wary of Heyneke Meyer's Springboks.

"South Africa do loom large," Schmidt told the Belfast Telegraph. "I don't know if there's been a better player in the world this year than (Duane) Vermeulen, I think he's been unbelievable and we know so many of their other players.

"I was down at the Junior World Cup and watched Handre Pollard as a young guy playing in that final against England and he is an impressive young player, an impressive physical ball-carrier, he's a big kid.

"So, there's the new and old there and they have got a great mix and they'll be very tough."

South Africa and Ireland have played each other on 21 occasions. The Boks have won 16, Ireland four with one match ending in a draw.

The last meeting between the two teams was a close encounter, which South Africa won 16-12 in Dublin two years ago.


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