Ulster signing Duane Vermeulen tests positive for COVID
The World Cup-winning Springbok forward was intended to link-up with his new team-mates following South Africa’s autumn Tests and the Barbarians’ game with Samoa.
However the Baa-Baas match was called off 90 minutes prior to kick off following a COVID outbreak among their playing squad and 35-year-old second row Vermeulen has since also tested positive.
Ulster face Ospreys in the United Rugby Championship on December 4 before facing a testing opening pair of European Champions Cup games against French giants Clermont Auvergne and Gallagher Premiership outfit Northampton Saints.
“There will be a delay in Duane Vermeulen joining-up with the Senior Men’s squad following his arrival in Belfast,” read an Ulster statement.
“As a result of testing positive for COVID-19 prior to entering the professional squad bubble, Vermeulen will not train with the team this week. He will continue to be monitored medically and is currently well.”
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This news came only a few hours after forwards coach Roddy Grant had expressed how significant the addition of the 61-times-capped former Toulon star would be for Ulster.
“It was announced a while ago but it’s like Christmas, when it comes it’s exciting, certainly for me as a forwards coach,” he said.
“There are multiple layers of this. Guys say he’s a brilliant bloke a great leader, obviously has a huge presence.
“Young guys will pick up that, how he carries himself, how he talks, how he plays, he’s so consistent, he’s got massive plays. It’s sort of like modelling behaviours.
“To have him come into our maul is really exciting. He’s generally a world class player. It’s a pleasure to coach that.”
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