Springbok Duane Vermeulen has confirmed that he won’t be available for any of the Rugby Championship Tests. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Vermeulen came into the three-Test series against England with a question mark over his club future. After parting ways with French side Toulon, the powerful No 8 told the media that he would speak more about the matter at the conclusion of the series against England.
It’s believed that Vermeulen will travel to Japan in the coming weeks to link up with one of the local clubs. The player himself refused to confirm or deny this, however, after the Boks’ 25-10 loss to England at Newlands on Saturday night.
What Vermeulen did confirm is that he won’t be available for the Rugby Championship. When asked if he will be heading to the Far East, he smiled and said, ‘You never know’.
Before the start of the series against England, coach Rassie Erasmus suggested that Vermeulen might be available for part of that tournament. It appears that things have changed in subsequent weeks, with Vermeulen to miss all the games against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.
According to Erasmus and captain Siya Kolisi, Vermeulen has been an asset to the side both on and off the field over the past three weeks. The news of his unavailability will come as a blow to the Boks’ Rugby Championship title chances.
That said, Vermeulen may spend some time on the sideline after sustaining an injury in the third Test against England.
‘I got cleaned out at a ruck,’ he said afterwards. ‘I’ve never torn a hamstring before, so I don’t know how it feels. I felt a bit of cramp, but I don’t know. We will have to assess and see where we stand tomorrow.’
Vermeulen said that he hoped to be part of the side again in the buildup to the 2019 World Cup.
‘It will be difficult to be away from the side now. I’ve spoken to Rassie and we’ve got a plan, and there will be an opportunity to discuss things further over the next few weeks.
‘It’s great being back and pulling this green jumper over your head again,’ Vermeulen said. ‘It’s great to be part of a young squad.
‘These guys are just so excited to play for one another. I’m happy to be back, and hope to be a part of the side in the future Tests… not in the Championship, but we’ll see what happens down the road.
‘It a great team with a great captain in Siya. It’s an exciting phase leading up to the World Cup. I would be happy to be part of that and give my 110%.’
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