The experienced Springbok No 8, who earned his 60th Test cap last week against Scotland, said they are expecting a tough forward battle against the hosts, whose scrum will be guided by former Springbok and DHL Stormers forwards coach, Matt Proudfoot, but he added that the Boks were ready for the challenge.

“I haven’t played all the games this season, so I’m ready to go and excited for this weekend,” said Vermeulen.

“Matt and I shared a lot of special things and he knows my history and he has seen me grow up from my days at Western Province. He’ll be coaching against players he coached, so we may have a trick up our sleeves, and they could too. I suppose we’ll see on the day," he added with a 'business-as-usual approach'. 

Of the challenge he and his fellow loose forwards Siya Kolisi and Kwagga Smith will face against a high-rated England loose trio, Vermeulen said: “I played against Tom Curry and Sam Underhill in the 2019 RWC final and Courtney Lawes was the other flanker.

“They are really good at the breakdown, so this will be a different task and a great battle for us. As a loose trio we like to keep things simple and we generally try to build on how we played the previous week.”

The battle-hardened No 8 had full confidence in the Springbok loose trio going into the match and he complimented the live-wire Smith for doing a fine job in filling the No 7 jersey this season.

“Kwagga really took his chance when the coach gave him an opportunity at blindside flank,” said Vermeulen.

“He’s a good runner, he is quick at the breakdowns and he has a good work rate on and off the ball. So, it’s good to have him on the pitch.

“We have a good loose trio and we have great replacement loose forwards as well, so we are in a fortunate situation in that regard as a team.”

Looking ahead at the match, Vermeulen said the Springboks had moved on from their 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph against England and that they would enter this match with a completely new mindset.

“We had a look at the Rugby World Cup final to see how the teams played then and if things have changed in the last two years,” said Vermeulen.

“With COVID-19 disrupting the rugby season since, there was not too much to look at, but that’s the past and as a team we would like to look at the present. We can only work on what we have seen so far.”

Vermeulen also had words of support for his former Springbok team-mate Jannie du Plessis, whose youngest son, who was just over 10 months old, tragically passed away on Tuesday evening.

“We woke up to the very sad news this morning and their family are in our thoughts," said Vermeulen when speaking to the media on Wednesday afternoon.

"It is a difficult time for them and we support them. I simply can't imagine what Jannie and his family must be going through. I can't begin to comprehend what one must feel after such a loss.

"We really want to offer them all our condolences, we understand it's a hugely difficult time."

Du Plessis was at tighthead prop when Vermeulen made his Bok debut against Australia in Perth in 2013 and they played many Tests together, as well as for the Toyota Cheetahs in their Carling Currie Cup final triumph in 2007.

The match kicks off at 15h15 (17h15 SA Time) and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.