Duane stands tallest

Duane Vermeulen showed courage under fire in the Test against Argentina in Salta on Saturday, writes JON CARDINELLI.

Both Vermeulen and his opposite number had outstanding games for their respective teams. Juan Manuel Leguizamón was physical, and showed his silky handling skills on several occasions during the contest. As a unit, the Pumas back row will feel that they won the battle at the breakdown.

But the prize for the most influential individual has to go to Vermeulen. Argentina utilised the garryowen on more than one occasion, and their kick chase was superb. What they may not have counted on was Vermeulen rising so fearlessly to the occasion. The Bok No 8 was unbeatable in the air.

Vermeulen did contribute with ball in hand, and was rarely knocked back. However, it was in the air that he proved invaluable to South Africa's cause, whether he was fielding a high ball, or claiming a lineout throw.

That he secured possession while under tremendous pressure from the Pumas only highlights the quality of this performance. Without Vermeulen's courage under fire, the Boks may well have lost this Test.

Photo: Barry Aldworth/Backpagepix/Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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