Springbok eight-man Duane Vermeulen believes his team will be up against a very different England side on Saturday at Twickenham from the one they beat in Tokyo in the World Cup final some two years ago.
Vermeulen says that while this England team has evolved and added new dimensions to their style of play, the battle of the breakdown will still be the key to winning the final test match of the year.
With a victory against England, the Boks can finish an end-of-year tour unbeaten for the first time since 2013.
“There is a lot of good skillful back-rowers in the England squad, and it is going to be really difficult for us. But thinking about it, changing your game a little bit you have to adapt to the new rules. It feels like every year there is a whole bunch of new rules that come out. So, you have to adapt a little bit, but the more it changes the more it stays the same. So, a breakdown will always be a breakdown and if you can make a massive nuisance of yourself at the breakdown, it really puts a team a bit on the back foot,” says Vermeulen.
He says while there are guys who currently good a run of good form, a test might have its own challenges.
“It’s nice to see them also using the guys who are on form, but I think test match rugby is test match rugby, and a lot of guys, if you are new, going into test match rugby, might shock you a bit because it is a whole different thing than playing club level. But if you get an opportunity, you have to play. We’ll see what we are going to get on Saturday. It’s a team with a lot of skill and a lot of paces and that really backs themselves.”