From the news desk

Vermeulen ready for England Challenge

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Duane Vermeulen expressed his excitement for the weekend game against England and is looking forward to the battle that himself, Captain Siya Kolisi and Kwagga Smith faces against the England loose trio.

“They are really good at the breakdown, so this will be a different task and a great battle for us. As a loose trio we like to keep things simple, and we generally try to build on how we played the previous week, he said.”

He has an immense amount of confidence in the Springbok trio selected and complimented Kwagga Smith on his performance.

“Kwagga really took his chance when the coach gave him an opportunity at blindside flank,” said Vermeulen. “He’s a good runner, he is quick at the breakdowns, and he has a good work rate on and off the ball. So, it’s good to have him on the pitch.”

“We have a good loose trio, and we have great replacement loose forwards as well, so we are in a fortunate situation in that regard as a team, he added.”

Vermeulen said the Springboks had moved forward and are not looking back at the 2019 Rugby World Cup against England. He said the team will enter the match on Saturday with a brand-new mindset.

“We had a look at the Rugby World Cup final to see how the teams played then and if things have changed in the last two years,” said Vermeulen.

“With COVID-19 disrupting the rugby season since, there was not too much to look at, but that’s the past and as a team we would like to look at the present. We can only work on what we have seen so far.”

Vermeulen expressed his sadness on his Springbok team-mate Jannie du Plessis’ son, who passed away on Tuesday evening.

“We woke up to the very sad news this morning and their family are in our thoughts,” said Vermeulen when speaking to the media on Wednesday afternoon.

“It is a difficult time for them, and we support them. I simply can’t imagine what Jannie, and his family must be going through. I can’t begin to comprehend what one must feel after such a loss. We really want to offer them all our condolences, we understand it’s a hugely difficult time,” he said.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber confirmed that Sbu Nkosi (wing) and Aphelele Fassi (utility back) have been released from the touring squad to join the Cell C Sharks and departed for South Africa on Wednesday evening.

Both outside backs were members of the national squad throughout the international season, but with neither player being involved in Saturday’s season-ending Test against England at Twickenham, the Springboks have agreed to release them for Vodacom United Rugby Championship duty.

“We completed the bulk of on our on-field preparations on Wednesday, and our only remaining training session is our captains run on Friday, so it made sense to release Sbu and Aphelele to the Cell C Sharks,” said Nienaber.

“With our squad already selected for Saturday’s Test against England and all positions covered in terms of depth within the touring squad should there be any last-minute withdrawals, we thought it would be beneficial for these players to get back into fold with the Sharks who are preparing for their Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against the Scarlets next weekend.”

Fassi made his Test debut against Georgia in July and earned his second Test cap against Argentina in the Rugby Championship, scoring a try in each of those matches, while Nkosi, who boasts 16 Test caps, proved to be a key member of the team in the Rugby Championship, facing Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Photo SA Rugby


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