Duane: Rassie and I have a long-term plan

2018-06-25 10:48
Duane Vermeulen (Gallo)

Cape Town - One of the biggest performers for the Springboks over the three Tests against England was No 8 Duane Vermeulen

A few kilograms lighter than he was this time, last year, the 31-year-old reminded why he is considered one of the most highly-rated loose forwards in South Africa. 

He was simply immense in the first two Tests of the series in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, while in Cape Town he and the rest of the Boks lost the battle of the breakdown as England secured a 25-10 win. 

But, looking ahead to the 2019 World Cup in Japan next year, having Vermeulen fit, available and firing can only be good news for coach Rassie Erasmus and the Boks. 

The bad news, though, is that he will not be available for the Rugby Championship this year. 

While he is out of contract with Toulon, Vermeulen has been heavily linked with a move to Japan ahead of their 2018/19 season. 

Vermeulen would not confirm that on Saturday, but further reports on Sunday indicated that he had been linked with English club Bath. 

Either way, Vermeulen will not play in the Championship. 

While that may seem like bad news for the Boks, it will give Erasmus an opportunity to play Warren Whiteley, if the Lions skipper has recovered from his knee injury as expected. 

Whiteley was heavily tipped to be the Bok captain under Erasmus, but his struggles to get fit have served as a major stumbling block in his international career. 

While he was not giving anything up regarding his club future, Vermeulen acknowledged that he would miss being a part of the national set-up during the Rugby Championship.

"It will be difficult not to be part of it but we’ve got the plan and I have spoken to Rassie about it. I think there is still more time in the coming weeks to work out exactly what we want to do," Vermeulen said.

"It’s great being back and being part of a young squad of guys who are excited to play. It’s great to pull this green jumper over your head again.

"I’m really happy to be back and I hope to be a part of the Tests down the road. It’s a great team, we’ve got a great captain and the guys just need to stick together.

"This is a nice phase for us to build towards the World Cup and if I can be a part of that I will give 110%."

One concern is that Vermeulen was seen limping towards the end of Saturday's Test, and he was not sure what the injury was. 

"I got cleaned out at the one breakdown," he explained.

"I’ve never torn a hamstring so I don’t really know how it feels. It feels like a cramp, but I can still feel it. I don’t know, we’ll asses on Monday."

Read more on:    springboks  |  duane vermeulen  |  cape town  |  rugby


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