GREAT AT EIGHT: Veteran Duane Vermeulen

South Africans have to turn the clock back to June for the last time a proper eighthman packed down in this position for the national team.
King’s Park was the venue and France were the opponents as Warren Whiteley led the Boks to a 37-15 win over the visitors.

In the eight matches since, coach Allister Coetzee has tried Jean-Luc du Preez, Uzair Cassiem and Francois Louw in this position after Whiteley suffered a season-ending injury.

This weekend they will play France again - this time away from home - and Coetzee will be hoping his call-up of Duane Vermeulen to the squad will give his team that extra punch to return to winning ways.

Now it’s just a matter of selecting the 31-year-old in his preferred position.

Not only will Vermeulen add to the leadership core - which is in desperate need of some help - but he has knowledge of the conditions in France, where he plies his trade with Toulon.

Selecting him at No.8 should see Francois Louw shift to his natural No.6 position.

SHIFT TO NO.6: Francois Louw

With Pieter-Steph du Toit out injured, Coetzee should move Siya Kolisi to No.7 to complete a trio that might turn out to be his best combination yet.

Coetzee is expected to forget the word continuity this week and will be under pressure to make wholesale changes to the team that lost 38-3 to Ireland last weekend.

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