Duane Vermeulen returns to Springboks camp
The experienced No 8 will join the Springbok team at their Cape Town base on Sunday after missing the opening two Tests against the British & Irish Lions due to an ankle injury. Bulls coach Jake White had suggested a return was unlikely but Vermeulen has defied expectation to throw his hat in the ring for the crucial third Test.
It’s a significant boost for South Africa who leveled the three match series 1 – 1 last night with a convincing 27 – 9 victory over Warren Gatland’s Lions and will be full of confidence going into the decider.
Vermeulen, who reported for duty briefly at the team’s training camp in Bloemfontein in June, has been undergoing rehabilitation following surgery several weeks ago.
However, his steady progress proved to be sufficient for Vermeulen to be called up to the squad. His return comes as the Boks look likely to lose Pieter Steph du Toit for the decider.
Blindside Du Toit came off after injuring himself in a tackle with Lions winger Duhan van der Merwe. An injury assessment on du Toit – who was replaced by Kwagga Smith in the 20th minute – will be done early in the week.
“Duane will join us on Sunday and will be medically assessed as soon as possible,” said Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber.
“We will never risk a player who is not 100 per cent fit but he brings experience to the squad and it will be great to have him with us.”
Nienaber added that the Boks will know more about Pieter-Steph du Toit’s injury on Monday. Lood de Jager, himself returning from injury, made a star turn from the bench to cover the back row, providing some much-needed height in the lineout after the loss of the 6’7 Du Toit.
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