Cape Town – Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen is relishing the prospect of facing Irish counterpart Jamie Heaslip in Saturday’s first Test at Newlands.
The 32-year-old Heaslip will be Ireland’s vice-captain on their three-Test tour to South Africa and will be a key figure in an injury depleted squad.
He boasts 85 Tests for Ireland, as well as five for the British and Irish Lions.
“He’s an unbelievable player,” Vermeulen told reporters at Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday. “I think he’s a great leader in their squad, a good captain and I’ve got a huge amount of respect for the man.”
Vermeulen is expected to start ahead of Warren Whiteley in the Springbok No 8 jersey on Saturday and the Bok hard-man is looking forward to facing Heaslip.
“It’s going to be a tough match. Whether it’s me or Warren (Whiteley) that plays, he (Heaslip) will not make it easy for us,” continued Vermeulen.
“But at the end of the day, it’s about who is willing to give his all, and who is prepared to not stand back. I’m really looking forward to playing against him if I get the chance.”