The Springbok Number 8 had recently signed a deal to play for the Japanese side Kubota Spears. This deal was initially announced towards the end of June, where the 32-year-old said that “I am honoured and grateful to be a member of the Kubota family and looking forward to joining the Spears”.
Welcome to kubota spears ?
— ???????? (@Kubota_Spears) July 15, 2018
With this in mind, the news that Vermeulen is set to rejoin Super Rugby will come as no surprise to many, with the former Toulon star being heavily linked with a move back to where he started his rugby career.
Back in January, Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal claimed that he had offered his Number 8 a pay cut if he decided to continue playing in the Top 14 for the 2018-2019 season:
“Duane is leaving because he wants to prepare for the World Cup [in Japan in 2019] – we had offered him a contract that corresponded to the amount of time he works.”
It is evident that the Toulon owner would prefer to have a star with no International commitments after he commented that the South African would only be available for half of the time that was contracted to play.
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Vermeulen has impressed many South Africans this Summer with his commanding performances against England in the June Summer Series. The second test portrayed just how important he is to the Springboks set up after many pundits and fans lauded him as the player of the series.
According to Netwerk 24, Vermeulen will play for either the Stormers or Bulls next season if this deal was to go ahead. This would place him in good standing to represent South Africa in Japan 2019, where he would hope to be starting in Rassie Erasmus’ starting XV.
Vermeulen will miss the upcoming Rugby Championship due to his club commitments in Japan.
The No 8, who played for French club Toulon between 2015 and 2018, was also linked with a move to English club Bath, however the demands of English domestic rugby would invariably mean that his International aims would not be a priority. Duane will next be available to play for the Boks at the end of season tour to Europe.