Boks will be on the back foot in Rugby Champs – Vermeulen

Elton Jantjies and Duane Vermeulen talk to the media during a virtual press conference on Tuesday, ahead of Saturday's much-anticipated Green versus Gold match at Newlands. Picture: Getty Images

Australia and New Zealand have been playing rugby for 10 to 11 weeks and have already finished their domestic competitions.

Star Springbok eighthman Duane Vermeulen fears the national team might have to make up a lot of lost ground if SA Rugby still decide to play in the Rugby Championship.

Vermeulen is currently in Cape Town, where he is part of the Green team to face a Gold team at Newlands this weekend as part of the “Springbok Showdown” at Newlands.

“If we go into the Championship, we will be definitely be at a bit of a disadvantage,” Vermeulen said on Tuesday via a virtual conference call from the Mother City.

“New Zealand and Australia have been playing already for 10 or 11 weeks, or close to that, and they have already finished their respective competitions,” he said.

Vermeulen did, however, remark that it was difficult for him, like most of the players, to voice an opinion as to whether they should play in the Championship or not. The competition is set to take place in Australia in November and December.

“There was always a directive to us as players from the medical team that we needed to have played 400-plus minutes before going into any international competition,” he added.

“Fortunately there are more knowledgeable guys behind the scenes who would look at that and then plot the way forward.”

Vermeulen said, however, from their side as players, they would have to be more adaptable if and when they got the opportunity to play.

“It’s difficult circumstances and we are only starting to get game time now, but as players we also don’t quite know yet what is going to happen,” said the big back-rower.

“We can only focus on what we can control and only control the ‘now’. The most important thing is how one prepares your body to be physically ready once the competition starts,” he said.

The Bulls captain also stressed the importance of a strong domestic competition like the up-coming Super Rugby Unlocked.

“So I think most of the guys are focusing on that and not thinking too far ahead in terms of the Rugby Championship.”

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