Duane Vermeulen expects an even more clinical effort from the Springboks in their World Cup opener against Scotland following the record-breaking win over New Zealand.
The veteran No 8 was one of seven forwards who were replaced by a seven-man Bomb Squad early in the second half as the world champions thundered to a 35-7 victory against the All Blacks in a World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Friday.
But that’s now history, as Jacques Nienaber’s troops now turn their attention to the World Cup proper and a clash with the Scottish in Marseille on 10 September.
“We made mistakes [against New Zealand] and there were a couple of things that didn’t go our way – discipline was one of them,” Vermeulen said. “We got a yellow card and penalties can make you lose a game, so we have to sharpen up on that.
“I think there’s still a lot in the tank. We’ve got to prepare well for our first game against Scotland. All the focus is on Scotland from this moment on.”
The record-breaking win came in the wake of another similarly record-breaking victory over Wales six days before, when the Boks scored their most points and won by their biggest margin (52-16) in Cardiff – representing a double mission accomplished for the 33-man squad.
“We really wanted to lay a marker down going into the World Cup and we wanted to show each other what lies inside every single person,” Vermeulen added. “We played for one another, and it was a fantastic result for us.
“It was our biggest margin over New Zealand so it was a good one and good preparation – but it’s now just the start of the World Cup and hopefully we can go into it with a bit of confidence.”
That confidence was powered by rewriting the narrative against the Kiwis, following a disappointing showing in Auckland when the All Blacks triumphed 35-20.
“We really wanted to play a full 80 after the last time we met, and I think the guys really played their part,” said Vermeulen.
“Our last game against New Zealand wasn’t great and our first 20 minutes was our worst performance against New Zealand ever. They capitalised on our mistakes.
“This week we’d worked on all those small things that didn’t go well. This is one step in the right direction – there are still one or two little things that we can tweak. The coaches are happy and the team’s really happy with the performance and hopefully we can build on that.”