Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer yesterday named Vermeulen in the starting line-up in the place of the injured Spies for the opening Rugby Championship Test against Argentina this weekend at the FNB Stadium.
“I think sometimes Pierre gets written off unnecessarily, while Duane is a physical player and very good on the ground,” said Meyer yesterday at the team announcement in Fourways.
“But I think it would be unfair to compare the two players, they are both great players in their own right but also different types of players,” said Meyer.
Seven overseas-based players have been included of which five will start the Test. Unlucky to lose out is scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, centre Juan de Jongh and prop Trevor Nyakane.
Meyer yesterday named just two changes to the starting line-up, and a further two on the bench, from the last Test against Samoa at Loftus in June, with the other being Juandre Kruger replacing Flip van der Merwe as the No 5 lock.
“We have won six Tests in a row and I wanted to keep the continuity,” said Meyer.
On the bench he included scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and prop Gurthro Steenkamp, while hooker Bismarck du Plessis starts again on the bench.
“I said from the start I wanted to give Flip a chance in our last Test, but Juandre has always been the No 1 choice. He is great in the lineout, while Flip will make a vital impact from the bench,” said Meyer.
His decision to start Du Preez after an absence of two years in the Bok side was also taken after careful consideration, said Meyer.
“I think it would have been unfair on Fourie to start with him as he is just coming off an off-season,” said Meyer.
“The idea is to ease Fourie in and give him some game time, but in a Test it’s also risky to replace your No 9 too early,” said the national coach.