A coaching position for Duane Vermeulen at SA Rugby has nothing to do with favouritism, and more about the value he will add to the Springboks on defence, writes MARK KEOHANE.
Earlier this week, double world champion Vermeulen became the third member of a SARU mobi-coaching unit. Rassie Erasmus was confirmed to be returning as head coach, with the inclusion of newcomers, defence coach Jerry Flannery and attack specialist Tony Brown.
Writing for TimesLIVE, Keohane refutes claims of prejudice by emphasising Vermeulen’s expertise and asserting its importance for the national team.
Keohane draws attention to the transient nature of some assistant coaches and the need for appreciating past experiences without unnecessary comparisons, and lauds Brown and Vermeulen as key additions to Erasmus’ support staff.
“Duane Vermeulen’s appointment as Springboks defence coach is not a case of ‘jobs for pals’ but rather one of appreciating his rugby intellectual property and ensuring it stays within the green and gold walls,” Keohane writes.
“But, despite suggestions on social media that his appointment is because he is mates with Erasmus, Vermeulen is a prized new member of the Boks’ extended coaching team that also includes former All Blacks flyhalf Tony Brown.
“Both are proper appointments.”
He also suggests the potential return of Jacques Nienaber to the Bok management for the 2027 World Cup, considering it a “genius move” by Erasmus.
Acknowledging Bok centurion Percy Montgomery’s transition to kicking and skills coach in 2009, Keohane concludes by highlighting the significance of trusting and valuing the contributions of former players like Vermeulen.
“Vermeulen now follows Montgomery into the Boks coaching club, a year after playing a starring role in the Boks winning successive World Cups,” he writes.
“Vermuelen has played under Erasmus for the bulk of his career. It is why Erasmus trusts him and it is why he will add value to the Boks 2027 World Cup campaign.”
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