Head coach says veteran back-rower "gives us a different perspective"

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber has described having Duane Vermeulen in the coach box for the Ireland match as a move that “gives us a different perspective”.

Vermeulen is back in the South Africa Rugby World Cup squad to face Tonga. But in the team’s last outing, a narrow but significant loss to Ireland, the veteran back-rower was in the coaching box with Rassie Erasmus’s staff helping with communication between coaches and players.

Read more: South Africa Rugby World Cup squad

As Nienaber explains below, it was a calculated move to have Vermeulen in the coach box.

Nienaber on Vermeulen in coach box

“I can’t say if he’s preparing for the future. It’s not the first time that we have had a player in the box. It’s good for us as coaches to sometimes have a player, because they give us a different perspective of how our communication is within the team. They get a sense of the sometimes frustration that coaches are under in a coaches’ box. That grows them as a player.

“Our coaches’ meeting starts at seven in the morning – any player can join that. Let’s say it gets to something sensitive like team selection, we will excuse them from the meeting and have the internal discussion, but they are more than willing – from 2018 – to sit in coaches’ meeting as much as they want.

“Duane’s role: if you look back to 2019, the best way to describe it is a Francois Louw role. He’s a guy that can start, that can play a test match for you, but he’s also a guy that’s got a lot of experience and he adds his wealth of knowledge into the group.

“Not saying that he can’t start. Look at Francois Louw, the contribution he made in that semi-final for us, to get a penalty in the 76th minute. 

“Big moments, big roles, been there before – he (Vermeulen) is probably in that mould, but if there’s an injury and he has to start and play the whole game, he’s more than fit and good enough to do that.”

What do you think of seeing Vermeulen in coach box? Tell us on social media or at rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com

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