Vermeulen: Sit or Start?

Duane Vermeulen has answered a Springbok SOS, but would it be wise for him to jump straight into the starting lineup against France on Saturday? The AOR team debates!

Tank Lanning – Start

PC it would not be, and it would fly in the face of my “local is lekker” selection guideline, but if Duane Vermeulen is in Paris this week, he starts at 8th man for the Boks. No question.

It would make Allister Coetzee look a little silly given that last week Monday was deemed “too late” to join up with the Boks before a Test. But we are used to that.

Non-PC in that it will likely hurt the feelings of the loosies selected ahead of him in the initial squad, and because of his comments last year, calling the Bok environment “chaos… everyone has their own agendas.”

But if I were Dan du Preez, I would consider it an honour to learn from one of the best, and let’s be honest, given what has transpired under Coetzee, Vermeulen was not exactly wrong.

“You always get ex-players talking about the game,” said Vermeulen. “You never hear current players say anything about the game, but we are the guys who are really in there and see what is happening. I just wanted to stand up for the players. If that hinders my opportunity to be selected, then so be it.“

Seen in the light of the Springbok results since those comments, I say give that man a Bells, and a start against the French on Saturday.

Apart from being one of the greatest 8th men to grace the sport, he is a bruiser who gets over the gain line – exactly what the Boks need. It also then allows Francois Louw to focus on what he is good at – playing to the ball as an out-and-out opensider, while freeing up Siya Kolisi to play the rangy game he is good at.

Winner Chicken Dinner!

Zelím Nel – Sit
Rugby is a game that is decided by thumpers, and Duane Vermeulen is a classic, uncompromising South African pounder.

Though he’d have been my choice for Bok captain in 2016, and remains a player who can add real value to the cause between now and the 2019 World Cup final, Vermeulen’s role with the team this week should be in more of a coaching capacity than a playing one.

The plodding performances of several veterans called up to the Bok squad in 2014 and 2015 has attached a stigma to the deployment of said leather-necks who are based in Europe.

There’s something to be said for the speed of the southern hemisphere game, even if Super Rugby isn’t what it used to be, and there’s no denying that Saffers based in the north take some time to shed the skinfolds added for insulation against frigid European winters.

Vermeulen, just two Top 14 matches removed from a mid-term injury, won’t be at his best on Saturday. As much as he’ll be grinding his teeth and clenching his hammer-like fists for a shot at France, the long-term interests of all parties concerned will be better served by him not starting.

Dan du Preez also boasts the chassis of a tow-truck, is combat-ready, youthfully invincible and no doubt desperate to prove he’s the more abrasive of the twin brothers. Rather harness Vermeulen’s experience and insight to prepare the young gun to launch Louis Picamoles, and recall the veteran slugger when he’s ready to go 12 rounds.

You’ve read what they think, now let us know where you stand in The Big Debate!

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Lions Fan '82

    I feel for Dan, he’s been in the Bok setup for a while now, but he keeps getting leapfrogged. One flank after another gets to play 8th man (Louw & Cassiem). He hasn’t even had a go off the bench. Give DdP & Vermeulen 40minutes each. Get them both some game time and next week you’ll now what you have available in both of them.

  • Peter

    Zelim Nel…your total lack of appretiation for NH home rugby is scaredly exposed here….week in and week out you opine and my advise would be that you apply your mind more vigorously in a horses for courses scenario or are you like your tjommie Mostert so blinded by everything anti-WP/Stormers that the idea of an ex opposition player makes you blind to the reality of the occassion

  • Bokfan1

    Vermulen MUST start, how can there even be a debate?

    DduP’s time will come if he maintains his form. Saffas are funny how some of us want to push a guy into the team or “feel sorry” for him. Its his first tour and he is a laaitjie! How long did Sam Cane sit on the bench for ABs behind McCaw?

    One of the reasons the Boks got pumped is because they are ALL laaitjies on that field, no hardebaarde to guide them and teach them to vasbyt. Vermulen is as hard as they come.

    If Flouw was making turnovers and being his usual brillaint self it would be debateable, but he isnt.

    Vermulen should ALWAYS start and should probably be captain. Bissie should be on the bench as hooker and Frans Steyn should be in the squad at least, but most probably at 12 to shore up the backline

    We need experienced okes on a NH tour. Most of this time is on its 1st or 2nd tour

  • Lions Fan '82

    Players should be picked in their specialised positions, and 8th man is one of your 5 core/spinal positions. Yes Daune is a champ and now that he’s in the squad he should start. Was Flo great at 8th man, NO. Was Cassiem great at 8th man, NO.
    I dont think the likes of Beast, Etzebeth, du Toit, Flo or Kolisi can still be regarded as laaities. Marx and Kitsoff have the ability and quality to step up to the top level of test rugby. So in the forwards there was definitely space for a laaitie, even if it is in a core position. It’s not “feeling sorry” as much as it pisses me off.

  • Lions Fan '82

    Totally agree with Bissie and Frans Steyn. Bissie to show Marx some tricks of the trade, and he’ll be the best hooker in world rugby for the next decade. Frans Steyn has always been top class and should have 100 caps by now. He won a world cup 10 years ago. And he know’s the French inside out.
    Man, so gatvol already, but yet we sit infront of the telly every saturday, still believing, still hoping. I’m considering dedicating my Saturday rugby time to the Aus/Eng game, that will probably be the game of the weekend.

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