Duane Vermeulen | URC Semi-Final DHL Stormers Preview

Duane Vermeulen | URC Semi-Final DHL Stormers Preview

20 days ago

Match Previews

Ulster’s Number Eight spoke with the media earlier this week to preview our URC Semi-Final clash with DHL Stormers. Here is what he had to say…

On unfinished business with DHL Stormers…

We weren’t really on our game on that day. We gave two early, easy tries at the beginning and they were 14-0 up. It was a tough task to fight back. Some decisions didn’t go our way, but you can’t put yourself in that kind of position to win a game. Hopefully, we can do a little bit better this time around.

On going up another gear…

It’s a play-off game, so it’s the last step before the final. You can’t say last weekend’s game was our best game ever. You put that aside and work on the next team you’re facing which are The Stormers this coming weekend. We’ll put all our focus on this game and the style they play, and prepare in a way we can play the best rugby on the day.

On whether he is more prominent in team meetings ahead of games against South African teams…

I wouldn’t really say that but I would like to contribute. I know the South African mentality and the way teams play. As a South African, when you go into big games like this, it’s a different kind of mentality. I tend to say a little bit more, but you don’t want to take the whole floor over. It’s a contribution and it’s a team sport, so everyone contributes to the whole cause. I must say it’s been great; today in training and in meetings, everyone had a fair share of input towards our game and how we want to play.

On what has impressed him about the Ulster set-up…

I must say the energy, the style and the speed of play. The effectiveness that has on your game management, playing on the front foot and things like that. It’s a good thing to get used to. It took me a while, but I understand the whole game plan now. It’s great to be a part of this dynamic team. It’s a young squad but guys who want to prove something and lift a trophy. The last time was a lot of years ago, so hopefully we’re in the running. Let’s see, hopefully we can tick another box.

On the traits needed to win silverware…

I think there are specific traits. When it comes down to Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals, simplicity is key. You don’t have to be extravagant; you just have to do the basics right. When you get the opportunity to score or get points on the board, you’ve got to take it. That’s a major thing and not giving away too many penalties is another. We were a bit short throughout the season with the way we played. We couldn’t really put on a full 80-minute performance in the latter part of the tournament. It felt like the guys are understanding we can’t just hang back and we have to keep pushing. Last weekend was a good example for us, but there’s another game against The Stormers that lies ahead. Hopefully we can keep going.

On potentially matching up against Evan Roos…

There’s big talk about him. He’s an exceptional player and plays well in The Stormers’ set-up. He’s a big carrier for them. We play completely different styles. He’s out and running in the back line and from line-outs, where I am with the forwards. There’s a whole different game plan – you can match him with Nick Timoney or Marcus Rea. He’s been really influential in the way they play and he’s racked up a couple of Player-of-the-Match Performances. It’s really good for them, he is playing well and hopefully he gets an opportunity in the national squad. If you play well, you need to get an opportunity somewhere else. Hopefully it’s national colours.

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