Vermeulen ready to make up for lost time

Date published: October 21 2015

Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen is keen to get stuck into the All Blacks when the two sides meet in Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final at Twickenham.

Vermeulen missed the last match between these teams – The Rugby Championship clash which New Zealand won 27-20 in Johannesburg – and admitted it was frustrating to watch that match from the sidelines.

“It wasn't great to sit in the stands," he said.

"I tend to not watch any games when I’m not playing or injured. But you had to be there, had to be part of the squad. You want to go out there and help your team-mates. 

"If it’s happy moments or sad moments you want to experience everything.”

The Toulon-bound loose forward said although he expects a tough battle against the All Blacks there is a huge amount of respect amongst the two teams' players for each other.

“We are going to bash each other for 80 minutes and then enjoy a good chat and maybe a beer afterwards,” added the 29-year-old.

Vermeulen revealed that the Boks have done most of their preparations for the semi-final and know what to expect from the world champions.

“This week is all mental," he said. 

"We know exactly how New Zealand play and they know how we play. The coaches have sorted out the way they want the players to attack, defend. As a player now it just comes down to mental preparation.

“Pieter (Kruger, sports psychologist) does a lot on the side, sees body language; are you on downwards slope or happy where you are? 

"If not, you get to sit with him for one-on-ones and he puts you in the right direction, shows you the right way of preparing yourself, as an individual or in the squad, to give your bit when needed and to keep quiet when nothing else is needed.”

Despite Kruger's assistance, Vermeulen said the players are not provided with mental exercises.

“Not mental exercise," he explained.

"In the first couple of games in the (Rugby) Championship there was a dead spot between 50 to 70, 20 minutes when we struggled to get points. He showed that to us. You just had to see it.

"You get that mind-shift and suddenly you can score points and build scoreboard pressure, keep the boxes ticking.”