Wayne Barnes (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok fans know how much a referee can impact a World Cup knockout match, and No 8 Duane Vermeulen expects that to be the case again in Saturday's quarter-final against Wales at Twickenham.
But, he has voiced his confidence in Englishman Wayne Barnes.
When asked on Friday how important the breakdown battle would be on Saturday, Vermeulen was quick to point out that the man with the whistle was more than competent of facilitating a fair yet immense battle between the sides in London.
"We’ve got Wayne Barnes on Saturday and he’s been quite excellent at the breakdown … it’s going to be a tough battle for both teams," Vermeulen, who has now fully recovered from the neck injury that threatened his tournament, said.
"It all goes … how the ref’s going to blow the game … it all goes down to that."
Vermeulen added that the Boks were in a good frame of mind heading into the clash.
"There’s a lot of energy in the team. If it’s nervous energy, it’s still an energy and we just need to put that in a positive direction. If all 23 just move in one direction then we’re happy with that," he said.
"All the preparation is done and now we just need to go out there and play our game."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:00.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (captain), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Tom Francis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 James Hook