Duane Vermeulen was back at Springbok training in Paris on Tuesday. Photo: SA Rugby

Duane Vermeulen has seemingly made an immediate impact on his Springbok coaches and the players after joining the squad late on Monday as an injury replacement for prop Coenie Oosthuizen.

The 31-year-old has yet to feature for the Boks under Allister Coetzee, but after Saturday’s 38-3 defeat by Ireland, it is almost certain the Toulon-based loose forward will have some role to play in Saturday’s Test against France in Paris.

The Boks are desperate to hit back and get even on tour, with matches still to come after this weekend against Italy and Wales.

Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith on Tuesday afternoon lauded the impact of Vermeulen, who could form a loose trio with Francois Louw and Siya Kolisi for the Paris engagement – a combination that will have a very Western Province and Stormers ring to it.

After his first training session with his new teammates on Tuesday, attack coach Smith said: “I think Duane’s experience is of enormous value to us. 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.”

Vermeulen was in Toulon’s starting team 10 days ago for the match against Agen, but the Top 14 went on an extended break from last weekend to allow for this month’s international fixtures in Europe.

Vermeulen will, indeed, bring some much-needed experience to the Bok pack – and team as a whole – something Smith said would boost the side after the defeat last weekend.

“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 (last weekend), 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 Coetzee, who said the French will be a very different side playing in Paris this weekend.

“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 on Saturday.”

Kickoff is 9.45pm SA time.

Coetzee will announce the Springbok match 23 on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s match will be the last Test for forwards coach Johann van Graan, who will leave the Boks immediately afterwards to take up his new position as head coach of Munster in Ireland – the position formerly occupied by Rassie Erasmus, who is back in South Africa to take charge as national director of rugby.

It is also understood defence consultant Brendan Venter will also not be involved with the Boks next week as they prepare for the Italy clash, as he is also a consultant with them leading up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.


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