Duane Vermeulen says that the soaring Springbok lineout must continue its ascent ahead of the World Cup semi-final against Wales. JON CARDINELLI in Tokyo reports.
The Boks beat Japan 26-3 in Tokyo on Sunday. While they didn’t always convert their dominance into points, the pack’s performance at the scrum, lineout amd maul was impressive.
‘How many metres did we gain with that maul?’ Vermeulen asked rhetorically when he fronted the media after the game. The Bok No 8 was referring to the well executed play in the 66th minute that saw South Africa march Japan 40m downfield and set Faf de Klerk up for a decisive score.
‘Credit needs to go to the guys who manage the lineout,’ Vermeulen said, in praise of Lood de Jager and Franco Mostert. ‘The Bomb Squad [the Bok bench] also made a difference late in the game.
‘We know that Wales will demand more of us next week,’ he admitted.’ Alyn Wun Jones is one of the best at the lineout contest and their set piece is very good. We’ ve got a lot of work to do before facing a side that was recently ranked No 1 in the world.’
Wales produced an unconvincing performance in their quarter-final win over France in Oita. The momentum only shifted in Wales’ favour after France were reduced to 14 men via a red card early in the second half.
The Boks won’t be takimg anything for granted, though, ahead of the semi-final showdown in Yokohama next Sunday. They’ve lost the last four Tests against Warren Gatland’s charges.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus feels that nothing should be read into the two most recent results. The Boks lost to Wales in Washington DC last June and again in Cardiff in the final game of the season.
‘We had to split our squad last June, with a B side going to Washington to face Wales and the A side remaining in South Africa to face England,’ Erasmus said. ‘The latter game was staged outside the international window so none of our overseas-based players were available for selection.
‘This will be the first time I am coaching against Wales when all of the players are available for selection. They’re a very good side with a quality coaching staff. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.’
Photo: Steve Haag via Hollywoodbets