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Vermeulen linked with former club after Ulster's URC exit

By Ian Cameron
Duane Vermeulen of Ulster after his side's defeat in the Heineken Champions Cup Pool B Round 3 match between La Rochelle and Ulster at Stade Marcel Deflandre in La Rochelle, France. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Springbok No.8 Duane Vermeulen is being linked with a move back to the Bulls by Netwerk24</em>, following his departure from Ulster.


Ulster were dumped out of the URC play-offs by Irish provincial rivals Connacht on Friday night at the Kingspan, a defeat that marks a disappointing end to the Bok legend’s time in Belfast.

Now, according to reports, the Blue Bulls Company is in talks with the veteran to head back to Loftus for a short-term stint, where he could play in the Currie Cup and serve as a mentor, as part of his preparations for the international season.

Although Vermeulen is expected to retire from Test rugby after the Rugby World Cup in France later this year, it remains to be seen whether he will return to the Bulls. The rise of Jasper Wiese and Evan Roos means that his place in the Springboks is by no means a given.

Vermeulen, who will turn 37 years old in July, has not yet indicated where his movements. He previously played for the Cheetahs, Stormers, and Bulls in South Africa, and there is no doubt that various South African teams would be happy to welcome him back. He has 63 caps for his country, including a Player of the Match performance in the 2019 World Cup Final against England.

During his time in Belfast, Vermeulen became a fan favourite, with his all-action performances becoming a regular highlight at Kingspan Stadium. He captained Ulster to important wins away against South African opposition earlier this season and filled the gap left by fellow Bok Marcell Coetzee, who himself returned to SA in 2021.

The 6’4, 115kg loose forward endured a couple of injury setbacks last year, and at the age of 36, many believed his omission from the Springboks’ end-of-year tour was an indication that management are looking elsewhere. However, it was later explained that the South African icon was simply being managed.



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