Vermeulen adds valuable experience – Smith
Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith has lauded the immediate impact of Duane Vermeulen, who has joined the squad in Paris as a replacement for the injured Coenie Oosthuizen.
The experienced No 8 joined the Springboks on Monday from French club side Toulon, and he had his first training session with the squad on Tuesday at the training grounds of Stade Francais.
On Tuesday afternoon, Smith told the media that Vermeulen made an immediate impact on the squad.
“I think Duane’s experience is of enormous value to us,” said Smith.
“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.
“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 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 head coach Allister Coetzee, who said the French will be a very different side playing in Paris on Saturday.
“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 against the French on Saturday.”
Coetzee will announce the Springbok match 23 on Thursday.