Duane Vermeulen says the Springboks’ Rugby Championship title win will act as an important stepping stone towards the World Cup.
The Boks smashed Argentina 46-13 in Salta on Saturday to clinch the Southern Hemisphere crown for the first time since 2009.
The win was by the biggest margin (33 points) in the 17 matches under the tutelage of coach Rassie Erasmus and took the team’s try tally in this year’s Rugby Championship to 11.
However, speaking after the match, stand-in captain Vermeulen said the Springboks are working towards claiming the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan.
‘I think for us the most important thing was to work on our consistency,’ was the response from the Bok skipper immediately after the game.
‘We started the Rugby Championship working on executing our plans, and in a way we are happy with our performance but there are still a few things to work on.
‘It’s a great feeling for us to walk away with the title, but in the end it’s a stepping stone for us going into the World Cup.’
Vermeulen added that while the victory will give the Boks plenty of confidence, they are still wary of staying consistent for their World Cup opener against the All Blacks.
‘The victory is a great thing for our country because we know that if the Springboks do well then everyone is happy in South Africa,’ said Vermeulen.
“So for us it’s a great feeling, but I want to emphasise it’s more about working on our consistency and working towards the things we hope to achieve.
‘New Zealand had a tough game and they will be hungry to bounce back so we have to prepare well [for the RWC opening group match next month]. But we are happy with where we are at the moment.’
The Springboks will wrap up their preparations for the World Cup with a rematch against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday in their farewell Test. The team arrive back in the country on Monday morning.
Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau