Irish club Ulster have confirmed the signing of World Cup-winning Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who will join the club following the end-of-year Tests in November.
Vermeulen has signed on with Ulster until 2023, having already highlighted his desire to try to play through to the next World Cup after he missed the British & Irish Lions tour due to injury.
Congratulations @UlsterRugby on signing an absolute beast! Duane is a class rugby player on the field and even better ambassador away from it. Thanks for all the hard yards at @BlueBullsRugby Duane, you will be missed! https://t.co/Uzpm2pFY0g
— Edgar Rathbone (@EdgarRathbone) September 16, 2021
In 2019, Vermeulen was crowned Player of the Match as South Africa stormed their way to World Cup victory, lifting the Webb Ellis trophy.
“The 35-year-old brings with him experience gained in both Super Rugby and the Top 14 and will join the United Rugby Championship in November once he has completed international duties during the Autumn Tests,” a statement read.
Head coach Dan McFarland added: “Duane is clearly a world-class player who, as the current World Champions’ starting 8 and MVP from the last RWC Final, is set to bring depth and experience to our really talented group of back rowers.
“As well as being an undeniable talent on the pitch, I know Duane will play an important role going forward in strengthening the winning mindset we are building as a squad.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise Bryn Cunningham’s brilliant work in orchestrating this deal from start to finish. It was always going to be a difficult ask to find a difference-making 8 but Bryn has definitely achieved that.”
Vermeulen said there had been detailed discussions about the club’s values, expectations and the potential role he could play going forward before agreeing to the deal.
“It appealed and resonated with me to a point where I got very excited and decided to commit myself to this Ulster journey. I cannot wait to become part of the Ulster family and to serve as best I can.”
Ulster Rugby has been actively seeking a world-class addition to the squad following the planned deal with Leone Nakarawa falling through in June.