Jano a Bok - after 101 games

Jano Vermaak (Gallo)
Jano Vermaak (Gallo)
Durban - After 101 Super Rugby games, Jano Vermaak will finally make his Test debut for the Springboks against Italy at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.

Kick-off is at 17:15.

The 28-year-old Bulls scrumhalf was part of the bigger Springbok squad for almost the entire 2012 season, but to date Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has preferred Francois Hougaard and Ruan Pienaar in the No 9 jersey.

Vermaak says he has been waiting for a long time and just wants to make the most of his opportunity.

"Yes, I've been playing Super Rugby for a very long time - 101 games is a lot - but I'm just very happy to finally get an opportunity. I'm not going to try too hard to do many things. Gaps will open by itself and I will take it if I have to, but I'm just going to go out there and try to keep things simple by giving Morné Steyn a good service," Vermaak said at the Bok hotel in Umhlanga Rocks on Wednesday.

Vermaak will come up against South African-born scrumhalf Tobie Botes who was born in Worcester in the Western Cape. Botes played 35 games for Griquas in the Currie Cup before moving to Benetton Treviso in Italy in 2008. Botes was called up to join Italy's Six Nations squad in January 2012.

"I've played a little bit of Currie Cup rugby against him (Botes) back in the day when he was still at Griquas. All I remember about him is that he is a attacking player with the ability to be very physical as well. He was always a good scrumhalf and has done well to get to where he is now," Vermaak said of Botes.

Botes, who now has 13 caps for Italy, attended Boland Agricultural High School. He says he will always be a Western Province and Stormers supporter.

"Even though I will be representing Italy on Saturday, my heart is still in the Cape. I come from the same school where Willem de Waal, Hottie Louw and Derrick Hougaard played their rugby. I also played with Zane Kirchner and Bjorn Basson at Griquas," he said.

"My wife is also born in Worcester and is expecting our first born. She and the rest of my family will be coming down for the Test. I am sure it's going to be an amazing experience to face the Boks," he added.
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