A second Vermeulen grub act has been caught on camera
When it comes to goal line defence, the All Blacks’ Ardie Savea is probably the best player in the world at preventing tries- just ask Australia’s Tate McDermott. So removing him from the picture could boost a team’s chances of scoring a try. Enter Duane Vermeulen.
After an onslaught in the All Blacks’ half on Friday at Twickenham without scoring, the Springboks found themselves playing against 13 men and camped on New Zealand’s line again. But with the All Blacks holding strong, Vermeulen stepped up and produced a crafty piece of play that his teammate Siya Kolisi will be hugely grateful for.
In the ruck immediately before the Bok captain bundled his way over the line, Savea was wrapping around to join the defence on the openside where Kolisi received the ball. However, as he was running round, Vermeulen grabbed his legs from the bottom of the ruck and tripped him up, therefore preventing him from from trying to stop the try. Four All Blacks tried to hold the ball up over the line in, but they could have done with Savea being part of the action.
This was a close call, and referee Matthew Carley referred to his TMO for help. Savea could well have made the difference between a try and no try. But these are just the dark arts in rugby that can win or lose a game. If you support the Springboks, this was a crafty piece of play, if you support the All Blacks, this was foul play and deserved to be penalised.
Of course, the Springboks won this game comfortably 35-7, but this was the opening try of the match. Things might have panned out differently had the All Blacks been able to repel them while they only had 13 players on the pitch. Or maybe not.
Take a look at this piece of play from Vermeulen:
— Riaan Louw (@Ringo26) August 26, 2023