CAPE TOWN – The Springboks may have beaten the All Blacks in Wellington, but that won’t necessarily be the blueprint to get the better of England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Powerful No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who returns to the side after missing the Rugby Championship, says there are fundamental differences between playing in the northern and southern hemisphere.
The quick track at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington resulted in 11 tries, but that is unlikely to be the case in London on Saturday (5pm SA time kickoff).
It has been chilly in the UK capital this week, with the maximum temperature not getting much above 13 degrees, and a massive storm is set to make landfall on Thursday, with a 90 percent chance of rain forecast.
While the deluge is set to clear by kickoff on Saturday, it’s still set to be cold and windy, which is why the Boks will tweak their style.
“It’s obviously the game everyone wants to play – you want to play against the All Blacks. The thing the guys did by beating them was amazing,” Vermeulen said at a press conference in London on Tuesday.
“I think it was a great atmosphere in the change room afterwards, but that’s in the past now – we still have to keep working forward to our next goal this weekend.
“The weather played a big part in Cape Town (in the third England Test in June), and that’s kind of the thing that England are used to playing in.
“So, it’s going to be a bit difficult for us, coming to play in the northern hemisphere – it’s a different game plan for us.
“They’re used to a certain style of play, so we need to adapt. We’ve made some changes, and we’ll see how it pans out on Saturday.”
Vermeulen believes that the main challenge from England will come at the breakdowns and at the exits, so coach Rassie Erasmus’ loose trio formation will be intriguing to see when he names the Bok side on Thursday.
“In the south, it’s a different game plan. So, we need to adapt to the style here that the English are playing.
“There are some things we’ve picked up on how we want to play, and also definitely, we must stick with some of the things that worked for us in the Rugby Championship.
“So, I think it’s a combination of what worked for us, and one or two new things we want to take into the game,” said the former Cheetahs and Stormers star, who will join the Bulls for Super Rugby next season.
“They gave us a lot of pressure at the breakdown and in our exits, so that’s some of the stuff we’ve worked on.
“But if you don’t win your set-piece, you are going to struggle. That’s definitely one of the areas we struggled in during the last Test in Cape Town.”@ashfakmohamed