Vermeulen delighted by Boks' defence

Date published: November 18 2013

Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen praised his side's defensive effort in their 28-0 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen praised his side's defensive effort in their 28-0 win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday.

The Springboks withstood heavy pressure in the second-half from a spirited Scottish team, with the stats showing 66% possession and 73% territory in favour of the hosts after the break.

Indeed, the South Africans lost replacement flanker Marcel Coetzee to the sin-bin late on, but still refused to yield to the Scots' pressure.

Vermeulen, alongside back-row colleague Francois Louw was central to the home side's inability to break the green and gold line, and he was delighted to have “nilled” Scott Johnson's men on their home turf.

“It's nice to see our defence working hard, and the guys working for each other,” said Vermeulen.

“With fourteen men on the field, the guys just tackled their butts off for each other – that was very pleasing to see.

“The second-half was very tough for us; we only defended. That's one thing we want to turn around; play for the full eighty minutes and not forty.”

When asked about the breakdown battle in difficult weather conditions and against a physical Scottish pack – a battle pivotal to the game's outcome, one the Springboks dominated, and one at which Vermeulen was at the forefront of – the number eight acknowledged the visitors had worked hard on winning the contact area in training.

“It was very tough; it's always tough up here,” confirmed Vermeulen.

“At the rucks, it's always slow. We worked very hard on the breakdown during the week in our build-up towards the game and I think on our attacking breakdowns we had good quick ball.

“But it's always slippery and sometimes it just pops out and you've got to scramble.

“Overall, I'm very happy (with that aspect of play), the guys did well.”

Vermeulen recognised that the Boks had to adjust to playing in the driving Edinburgh rain and on a Murrayfield pitch that has been decimated by parasitic worms.

“You've just got to keep holding onto that ball on the ground,” added Vermeulen.

“It was very slippery, and we have to keep working on our ball presentation.”

With the Boks traveling to Paris to take on France next week, Vermeulen is expecting another bruising encounter.

The 27-year-old has never played a Test against les Bleus, but is relishing the prospect of going up against another of Europe's top teams.

“I've never played against them, so I'm really looking forward to that game – I'll be up,” said Vermeulen.

But the number eight admitted France posed a new challenge to many of his team-mates.

“No-one really knows much about them,” conceded Vermeulen.

“They've got their own style of rugby and they've got their own way of playing.

“We've got to adapt to it and stick to our structures, and hopefully we'll come out victorious.”

By Jamie Lyall at Murrayfield @JLyall93