Much BS about Vermeulen not being able to play 80 minutes......totally vaporised yesterday when he saved the Bools twice in the last 5minutes. But there is an element of truth.....he and other players have one eye on the WC.
And that's not new, it even happens in the RC/TN prior to WCs. The WC is the pinnacle of a test player's career, and nobody wants to miss out because of a silly injury in an irrelevant match in a competition nobody cares about in a WC year.
It makes sense to protect our best players prior to the WC. But that in turn makes it difficult to judge performance.....players who have been protective include Allende, Jantjies, Kitshoff, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Kolisi, Stephanie and Vermeulen.
Mostly these are players who are pretty sure of their WC ticket. But as we saw with Allende his play suddenly became more urgent after the Houwing expose, saying he was losing ground.
Distasteful as it may be, ignore the coasting...it's human nature. Focus on talent and the skills to be relevant. Everybody will be fully committed at the WC