Concern over Vermeulen grows

    2015-06-08 14:18

    Cape Town - Springbok and Stormers No 8 Duane Vermeulen was due to meet with a neurosurgeon at 14:00 on Monday as concern over his availability for the rest of Super Rugby as well as this year’s Rugby World Cup intensifies.

    Vermeulen will certainly miss Saturday’s clash against the Sharks in Durban, and the Stormers said on Monday that they would provide an update on their captain’s condition as soon as possible - either on Monday afternoon or on Tuesday morning.

    Vermeulen pulled out of Saturday’s clash against the Lions at Newlands with a neck spasm that was later identified as a bulging disc at C5 level. Whether or not he requires surgery would be determined by the neurosurgeon.

    Coach Allister Coetzee obviously wants his leader available as soon as possible, but he does not view the prospect of going through the rest of the campaign without Vermeulen as detrimental to the Stormers’ title challenge.

    “We have grown as a group. We have overcome that mentality by trusting the squad and backing our squad system,” said Coetzee.

    “A guy like Nizaam Carr has done really well. This Stormers team is bigger than that at this point in time. We’ve got a good group of players and we back each and every player stepping up.”

    The good news for the Stormers, meanwhile, is that flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis appears to have come through his Jaco Kriel-induced concussion relatively unscathed.

    “He’s really feeling good,” Coetzee said of his playmaker.

    “He’s done his test today (Monday) and we’ll wait for his results but already he’s feeling much better, less symptoms. There’s no nausea, there’s no light-headedness. He’ll be training tomorrow already and then we’ll get further feedback from that.”

    Coetzee added that it depended on the test results whether or not Catrakilis would be available for the Sharks, but with his decision to give opportunities to fringe players on Saturday that seems unlikely.

    Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:10.

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