Springbok back-rower Duane Vermeulen has ruled himself out of the upcoming Rugby Championship.
The big Number Eight had originally been expected to play a limited role in this year’s iteration of the competition, but unfortunately won’t play any after announcing his withdrawal following Saturday’s Test against England at Newlands.
On top of his international withdrawal, Vermeulen’s immediate rugby future still remains uncertain after he parted with French club Toulon at the conclusion of last season.
Vermeulen is expected to join a Japanese club in the Top League in the coming weeks, and has also been linked with a move to John Mitchell’s Bulls side in Super Rugby.
While Vermeulen is very much still in the frame for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, he’ll be watching from the sidelines when the Springboks start their Rugby Championship campaign.
“It will be difficult not to be a part of it [Rugby Championship], but we’ve got a plan and I have spoken to Rassie about it and I think there is still more time in the coming weeks to work out that exact plan on what we want to do,” said Vermeulen.
“I think it is great being back. It is great being a part of a young squad and guys who are excited to play. They love to get together and it is just great to pull this green jumper over your head again.
“I am really happy to be back, and I hope to be a part of the coming Tests. I know it is not going to be the Championship, but we will see down the road.
“It is a great team, we’ve got a great captain and the guys just need to stick together.
“This is a nice phase for us building towards the World Cup and if I can be a part of that then I will be happy to give my 110 percent.”
The Springboks’ Rugby Championship campaign kicks off August 18 when they host Argentina in Durban.
Vermeulen has 42 Tests to his name after making his debut in 2012.
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