Duane Vermeulen (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen says he is feeling fine after recovering from a neck injury.
The burly loose forward has not played rugby since June and his last Test match was against Wales in Cardiff last November.
He was not considered for the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup opener against Japan in Brighton on Saturday, with Bok coach Heyneke Meyer opting to give him an extra week’s rest.
“Having not played since June I was a little bit tentative taking to the field for the first time after massive neck surgery, but touching that ball for the first time in two and a half months brought it all back to me and I just slotted in as always,” Vermeulen said via a media statement released by his sponsors Puma.
“I am now taking contact, the doctor and the rest of the medical staff are very happy with my progress.”
The Boks have endured a tough season to date, having lost all their Rugby Championship matches, but Vermeulen insists the spirit in the camp remains high.
“We had a tough road in this year's Rugby Championship but putting that aside our focus is on the World Cup and winning it. There is definitely a massive buzz and lot of excitement in the squad.”
Saturday’s clash at Brighton Community Stadium is scheduled for 17:45 (SA time).
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 JP Pietersen