Injured Vermeulen has ‘outside chance’ for final Test

Rassie Erasmus says there is an “outside chance” that Duane Vermeulen could be available for the third Test between the Springboks and British & Irish Lions.

Vermeulen has been undergoing rehabilitation on his serious ankle injury, which required surgery and led to doubts over his availability for the Lions series.

A few weeks ago, Vermeulen posted a video of him undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy as part of his rehabilitation process.

After announcing the South Africa A team to face the Lions during an online media conference on Monday, director of rugby Erasmus was asked about the latest update on Vermeulen and how his integration into the Springboks’ bio-secure bubble would work.

Erasmus responded that Vermeulen could potentially be available for the third Test against the Lions on 7 August in Johannesburg, but also surprisingly let it slip that the Lions could have captain Alun Wyn Jones back ahead of schedule.

Jones was replaced as tour captain by Conor Murray after dislocating his shoulder in the Lions’ farewell match against Japan in Edinburgh last month and was expected to miss the tour.

“His bubble will work very much the same to Alun Wyn Jones’ bubble, because Alun Wyn is apparently close to joining them,” Erasmus explained.

“Duane is maybe in the mix for the last Test match.  So, the way Alun Wyn will join the Lions’ bubble, Duane will very much do the same with us, if both of them obviously are fit.

“We have protocol for that which is guided by that MAG, the medical advisory group. Yes, there is an outside chance for Duane, as with Alun Wyn. We are not banking on that.”

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack