Duane Vermeulen's greater work rate and superior conditioning made all the difference in his personal battle on Saturday, writes BRENTON CHELIN.
It may not have been his finest performance in the green and gold this year, but Vermeulen did his job efficiently and effectively at Twickenham. Vermeulen made a team-high 11 carries and while he struggled to make yards against a vociferous English defence, it often took two or three defenders to bring him down.
He may have been guilty of giving away two first-half penalties at the breakdown that resulted in six points for the English, but his work around the park made up for any indiscretions.
Vunipola's afternoon started with tears in his eyes and ended with his further international career in doubt. It was as brief as it was ineffective. He lasted just 45 forgettable minutes, as he lost the ball in contact, on the ground and continued to look out of his depth at Test level.
It was no coincidence that England's best period came shortly after Ben Morgan's introduction. The substitute made the desired impact and had he started, he may have taken the duel himself.
Vermeulen is likely to get a hard-earned break against Italy next weekend and he can do so comfortable in the knowledge that he still remains the pre-eminent No 8 in world rugby.
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