Pretoria - Duane Vermeulen has been taking flak, a lot of it and not because he signed at the Bulls for the season, but rather because the powers that be decided that this year's collaboration with Marvel Comics means that his old side - the Stormers - will be wearing the Thor jersey as part of their link-up with the comic book heroes in Super Rugby derbies.
According to SuperSport.com, the burly No 8 is known to resemble Chris Hemsworth, the actor who portrays Thor in the movies and Vermeulen, with two small sons, has been doing his best to recruit them to the Captain America fandom, another of Marvel’s Avengers who will be the Bulls' jersey of choice this year.
"I got a hammering on Twitter about that. Sometimes I don't know exactly how they pick the jerseys, but it is a tough one in the house," Vermeulen joked.
"My two boys are still going on about Thor, but I thought I'd buy them a Captain America jersey. Luckily they got Captain America shields for Christmas, so we have been working on it."
Vermeulen is happy the Superhero Sunday pre-season double header will be taking place this Sunday, and believes this and the link up with the Marvel franchise is a good thing for local rugby.
"I think it is a nice thing that they are doing and it brings a bit of excitement to the game. Super Rugby in South Africa has taken a bit of a dip, and it is a thing to get people excited about rugby and about everything that is happening this year. It's a big year for SA Rugby and hopefully everybody can play their part."
Vermeulen will take his first steps in a Bulls jersey this coming weekend, but never reckoned he would ever play for the team.
"Yes, since a little fire started in the media about me moving to Pretoria, I've kept it quiet but yes, I’m happy to be here, happy to be starting, good bunch of guys and looking forward to the season," he smiled.
"Funny enough I grew up this side of the pond but I just never thought I'd see myself in a Bulls jersey. It is also funny how life turns out, I just want to play good rugby and contribute to the team."
And he is expecting a fiery reception at Cape Town Stadium.
"Yeah very much, you've got your critics and guys who will keep following you. I spoke to a psychologist before the World Cup and he said 60% of people will always like what you do, and 40% will dislike no matter what you do, even if it is a good cause. So if you are happy with 60% then you can live and go on. I'm pretty much happy to go on with 60% - there is always someone who will stand in your way and disagree with what you are doing."
The Bulls name their team on Wednesday and Vermeulen is expected to be in the squad that travels to Cape Town.
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