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Rugby Championship triumph a stepping stone for World Cup – Springboks skipper Vermeulen

South Africa’s victory in the Rugby Championship is nothing more than a stepping stone for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, skipper Duane Vermeulen has said.

The Springboks clinched their first southern hemisphere title since the 2009 Tri Nations as they hammered Argentina 46-13 on Saturday.

Their ruthless dismantling of the Pumas followed New Zealand’s shock 47-26 loss to Australia, with Steve Hansen criticising his world champions for “dumb footy” in their heavy Perth defeat.

New Zealand’s stumble may actually be a good omen for them ahead of their world title defence. No side to have won the Rugby Championship in a World Cup year has gone on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.

South Africa will be out to buck that trend and Vermeulen believes the Springboks need to show greater consistency to do so in a competition they begin against the All Blacks on September 21.

“We started the Rugby Championship working on executing our plans and in a way we are happy with our performance but there are still a few things to work on,” he said.

“It’s a great feeling for us to walk away with the title, but in the end it’s a stepping stone for us going into the World Cup.

“The victory is a great thing for our country because we know that if the Springboks do well then everyone is happy in South Africa.

“So for us it’s a great feeling, but I want to emphasise it’s more about working on our consistency and working towards the things we hope to achieve.

“New Zealand had a tough game and they will be hungry to bounce back so we have to prepare well. But we are happy with where we are at the moment.”

KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta

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