Duane Vermeulen to lead South Africa against New Zealand

Duane Vermeulen has played 46 Tests for South Africa
Duane Vermeulen has played 46 Tests for South Africa

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has named Duane Vermeulen as the captain for the second round of the Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand to be played in Wellington this weekend.

Vermeulen will take over the reins from Eben Etzebeth, who along with Pieter-Steph du Toit have managed to retain their places. Willie le Roux takes his place at fullback with Cheslin Kolbe at right wing.

Faf de Klerk returning at scrum-half means Herschel Jantjies, who had a dream start to his international career has been dropped to the bench while Handre Pollard will take the kicking responsibility. Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am form the midfield partnership.

Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn and Jesse Kriel are named in the bench as South Africa aim to maintain their winning start.

“We have the outmost respect for the All Blacks who are the undisputed number one rugby team in the world,” said Erasmus.

“We know we will have to be at our very best to be competitive against the All Blacks on Saturday and that is why we have sent a group of players in advance to Wellington, so they could acclimatise after the long trip over from South Africa.

“The New Zealanders are a very experienced and settled side while we have some catching up to do in terms of where the two sides are at the moment.

“They are bringing back their Crusaders players, who were all rested after the Vodacom Super Rugby final, so we are in for a huge battle against the best team in the world".

South Africa line-up to face New Zealand:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Steven Kitshoff, 2 Malcolm Marx, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter Steph du Toit, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c)

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel


South Africa Fixtures