Cape Town - Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen says there is hope for the Springboks to achieve success at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Vermeulen played at No 8 in South Africa’s last two outings which included wins against France in Paris (18-17) and Italy in Padova (35-6).
He has returned to his French club Toulon so will miss Saturday’s Test against Wales in Cardiff - which falls outside World Rugby’s Test window - but has enjoyed his stint with the Boks.
The Springboks have endured a torrid two years - winning just 11 of 24 Tests - a 46% win record that is likely to see coach Allister Coetzee lose his job.
Last week, former national coach Jake White indicated that the Boks did not have enough time to rebuild ahead of the next World Cup, but Vermeulen disagrees.
“I know the guys are under pressure in South Africa. The public is seldom happy, but the team must keep focus with its end-goal in mind. It may have been an ugly couple of years, but we know what we want to achieve come the World Cup,” Vermeulen was quoted as saying by Netwerk24.
Vermeulen’s team-mate in the loose trio, Francois Louw - who plays for Bath in England - is also unavailable for Saturday’s Test in Cardiff.
Vermeulen though hopes they added enough value to the Bok cause.
“You can’t significantly influence the team in two weeks, but then again I hope myself and Flo left a little bit for the guys to think about and to work on. We could share the experiences with them," Vermeulen said.
Lock Franco Mostert, who plays for the Ricoh Black Rams in Japan, is also unavailable this weekend.
The loss of the trio, in particular loose forwards Louw and Vermeulen, has in part been offset by the return from paternity duty of Siya Kolisi.
Meanwhile, the Boks will also be sweating on the availability of Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira who was forced to leave the field against Italy with a groin injury.
Sharks front-rower Thomas du Toit has been called up as cover ahead of the Test against the Welsh at the Principality Stadium.
Kick-off is at 16:30 (SA time) on Saturday.