Cape Town - Springbok No 8 and South
Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race
against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup following a diagnosis that he
will require surgery for a neck injury.
The 29-year-old Vermeulen, who was also the
SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and the Super Rugby Player of the Year in
2014, consulted a specialist in Durban on the recommendation of the Springbok
The need for surgery was identified to give
him the best possible chance to recover in time for the global rugby showpiece
in England in September and October. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday.
“This is a huge setback for us, but as with
any injury in the game it’s something that we simply have to overcome,” said
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday.
“Duane is world-class, which was underlined
last year when he was named the SA Rugby Player of the Year and nominated for
the World Rugby Player of the Year Award. He is one of the leaders in our squad
and since making his debut in 2012, has become an integral member of the team.
“I really feel very sorry for him as he was
hoping to have yet another huge season for the Springboks, but we’ve properly
discussed the situation with him and our medical team, and the decision was
taken to have the surgery now as it will be the best for him in the long run.
“We do have a number of great loose
forwards available for selection, but with Willem Alberts also not available,
this will be a good test of our depth.”
Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts commented:
“Player welfare is very important which is why we made the decision for Duane
to undergo surgery. It’s the best option for his medium to long-term career
“Duane will be put on an intensive
post-operation rehabilitation programme within the Springbok setup and we will
work tirelessly to get him ready for the World Cup.”