Duane Vermeulen says he feels the fittest he has been in a long time, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Durban.
Vermeulen found himself in a race against time to be fit for the World Cup after having to undergo neck surgery in July, but after being named in the 31-man squad on Friday, he said he was confident he’d be ready for the first game against Japan on 19 September.
‘I think this is the fittest I’ve been in quite some time, I’ve not really had a pre-season like this for a while. I’m very confident and happy with how I am, and there are still a couple of weeks to go before we leave for the World Cup.
‘I should be able to start taking contact on the field from next week and then it should hopefully be downhill from there. It obviously was a serious injury, but all the medical guys are happy.’
After the initial hope that the injury wouldn’t require surgery, Vermeulen admitted it had been a bit of scare when it was eventually decided an operation was needed.
‘At the time we discussed managing the injury, I wish I’d actually just gone in to have surgery because then I may have been ready a bit sooner than I am. It was a difficult time, especially when I was told I needed to do the surgery, but it’s all worked out well in the end.’
Vermeulen said he now had an incredible desire to make a positive contribution at what will be his first World Cup.
‘I’m hungry, I want to hit the pitch running, I want to take contact, tackle guys, carry the ball. I’m so keen to get back into action. It’s never nice being sidelined, and I’m so excited to be over that.’
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