Rassie Erasmus says Duane Vermeulen will not be utilised exclusively as a blindside flank against England on Saturday.
The eighthman has been given the No 7 jersey, with captain Siya Kolisi at openside and Warren Whiteley at No 8.
But Erasmus insists Vermeulen will be more than comfortable in his new role on the side of the scrum.
‘When I coached him way back at the Cheetahs and at the beginning at the Stormers, he always played No 7. He is comfortable at blindside,’ Erasmus said.
The Bok boss believes Vermeulen’s positional switch won’t make much of a difference to the player’s role within the team, because he will still be used as a No 8 in some areas of the game at Twickenham.
‘It’s only in scrums where guys really pack down in their positions. The rest of the game, the roles are mostly the same. We’ ll use him as a flank at scrum time, but in other parts of the game we’ll alternate his role between eighthman and No 7.’
Vermeulen’s switch and Whiteley’s return to the pack will also see the entire Bok leadership group – Siya Kolisi, Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Whiteley – all start together in a Test for the first time under Erasmus.
‘Warren is a top-class eighthman and brings leadership into the team as he helps out Siya and Duane,’ said the Bok coach. ‘There’s actually a few captains that have led the team before.’
Meanwhile, England coach Eddie Jones has had to select a weakened forward pack due to injuries to key players. But despite the contrast in experience and leadership options, Erasmus says there will be no place for complacency from his charges up front.
‘I wouldn’t say it’s a weakness [of England]. Maybe it’s more not knowing them from our side. There are a few new faces in their team and it’s not people that we see every week.
‘The moment we underestimate them, we’ll be surprised. I’m sure Eddie would have picked a team that’s competitive and if we don’t match them up front, our backline will suffer.’
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