Springbok and Vodacom Bulls No 8 Duane Vermeulen has revealed some logistical challenges facing the franchises during lockdown.
Vermeulen was speaking to former Springbok and Bulls captain Victor Matfield in an Instagram chat hosted by PUMA.
The 2019 World Cup winner has been spending lockdown at his home in Cape Town after returning to South Africa from Japan the day before the country closed its international borders.
South African franchises this week started with extensive medical testing as they anticipate getting the green light to return to training with non-contact drills.
However, the Bulls are among those facing logistical challenges in keeping contact with their players – some of whom have been based away from Pretoria during lockdown – as Vermuelen revealed that he has yet to have direct discussions with director of rugby Jake White.
‘I actually haven’t heard anything from him yet. I’ve had a chat with one of our assistant coaches previously and generally I’ve only been in contact with our team manager.
‘Hopefully when I go back up to Pretoria we can have a nice chat about to see where we are and what needs to be done.’
Vermeulen added that he was not too fazed as he understood that there were still plenty of off-field issues to be dealt with first, such as confirming the coaching staff for next season.
‘It’s been pretty quiet, but I think it’s also a matter of Jake firstly “cleaning things up” there, getting the right people he wants to work with and developing plans for how they want to work with the players,’ Vermeulen said.
‘We’ll hear what our next step is and when we need to move back up to Pretoria. That should provide clarity on our medical testing procedures and for how long we will still need to train on our own.’
Vermeulen is set for his second stint with the Bulls, having first played for the side in the 2019 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
He hinted that he was left slightly surprised by the way he was welcomed by the team’s fans despite previously playing for their bitter rivals, the Stormers.
‘It was quite funny. When you play for the arch-enemy down in the Cape at Newlands, you’re not very popular when you go to Loftus. You almost get booed off the park,’ he said with a chuckle.
‘When I first signed, I was immediately accepted by my Bulls teammates and the supporters. It was great to see how easily people can change and just how powerful a supporters group can be when they really get behind their team. It was a really easy transition for me and a fantastic experience.’
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