Vodacom Bulls No 8 Duane Vermeulen says he is taking nothing for granted in what is a big year for South African rugby.
The former Stormer will make his Vodacom Super Rugby return in a Captain America jersey at Loftus on Saturday, having last featured in the tournament in 2015.
Vermeulen took some flak from the locals when he played for the Bulls against his old team at Cape Town Stadium two weeks ago, but said he enjoyed the experience nonetheless.
‘Even if I had a few boos here and there, it was just great to play my first game in South Africa again in that atmosphere. We had such great support, and it was a good 40-minute hit-out for me.
‘As for the team, the whole idea in these pre-season games is just to see how we play together and understand each other better. It was good to see us go through a few phases and score a few tries. You know, we just went out there to see if all the guys can connect and play together, and then it’s all about execution for us.’
While the World Cup is looming large, Vermeulen said he is fully focused on Super Rugby and taking things step by step.
‘You know, in a year like this, you cannot plan too far ahead. You’ve really just got to work hard, take care of your body, and be in a good mental space in every single game you play. And then you need to be ready to take your opportunities when they come.
‘When it comes to the Springboks and the World Cup, my attitude is that it’s still a race for everyone, and it’s still open for everyone to pull on that jersey.’
– South Africa’s Super Rugby teams will be giving to CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation) through the #TacklingCancer initiative. For every tackle made by a South African rugby player in this year’s Super Rugby competition, Vodacom and SuperSport will together donate R100 to CHOC.