Smith lauds Vermeulen impact

Date published: November 14 2017

Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith has lauded the impact of Duane Vermeulen, who has joined the squad as a replacement for Coenie Oosthuizen.

The experienced number eight joined the Boks on Monday from club side Toulon, and he had his first training session with the squad on Tuesday at the training grounds of Stade Français.

On Tuesday afternoon, Smith told the media that Vermeulen made an immediate impact on the squad.

“I think Duane’s experience is of enormous value to us,” said Smith.

“We believe the right process was followed with him, to allow him to get some game time for his club following an extended period out due to injury.

“Duane has a wealth of knowledge of the French game and it is good to have his calmness and considerable experience in our environment. We lacked a bit of experience and it’s great to welcome him at this stage of the tour.

“He was in our plans from the start but injury came at a wrong time for him,” said Smith.

Although the Springboks won the home series by 3-0 against France in June, Smith echoed the words of head coach Allister Coetzee, who said the French will be a very different side playing in Paris on Saturday.

“They played New Zealand last weekend and they are a much changed and more determined side,” explained Smith.

“Playing at night will definitely influence the match conditions, and I expect them to come really hard at us in front of their supporters. Our training has gone well so far this week and we know we have to front up to a great challenge against the French on Saturday.”

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