‘Boks need intervention’

Duane Vermeulen says he wants to be part of finding a solution to the Springboks' woes, but can't see a 'positive outcome' with the way things are currently going.

In an open and frank interview with the Times Media Group, Vermeulen said he had to take a stand and speak out on behalf of the players after watching in horror as the Boks suffered their worst-ever defeat on home soil against the All Blacks on Saturday.

Vermeulen suffered a serious knee injury prior to the start of the Rugby Championship, and although he returned to action for Toulon ahead of the Boks' final clash with New Zealand, he was deemed surplus to requirements.

Nevertheless, he watched the game from France, with the embarrassing 57-15 defeat finally inspiring him to call for drastic intervention.

'I want to be part of the Boks, but the way things are going now I can’t see a positive outcome‚' Vermeulen told TMG from France. 'We need an intervention and I can’t sit silently on the side and say nothing anymore.

'I feel it’s always the coaches that have their say in a team environment and as a player there is no time to focus and to talk about issues in SA Rugby. We tend to only focus on the game itself. I feel the need to speak up as a player‚ for the players.'

Vermeulen suggested he couldn't commit to a return to South Africa with the way the game was being run at present.

'I still want to play‚ be a part of the best players in the country and represent the Boks with all I have. But at the moment I can’t see why players would commit 100%. That’s a huge problem. Where did everything go wrong?

'It was ugly watching the game on Saturday. We were a powerhouse in world rugby and I feel it is my duty to also make a stand and say something on the record about the situation. I don’t know how much respect there is for players anymore.'

Although Vermeulen supported the idea of the upcoming coaches indaba, he questioned whether it would achieve everything that it hoped to, while he called for 'clear and decisive leadership' from the upper hierarchy in SA Rugby and the sports ministry.

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Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis