Vermeulen’s return set to bolster Stormers squadJanuary 23, 2018
It’s been widely reported that Springbok and former Stormers eigthman, Duane Vermeulen, is set to return to South Africa from French giants, Toulon, to take up a dual contract with SA Rugby and the Stormers.
According to sport24, Vermeulen was quoted by influential French publication L’Equipe to be “dictated by his willingness to best prepare for the 2019 World Cup with the Springboks”.
The former Stormers captain will significantly bolster the Cape based side’s loose forward stocks with only captain Siya Kolisi, Nizaam Carr and perhaps Sikhumbuzo Notshe currently in the squad who can be classified as seasoned campaigners. They do however have youngsters in the form of Cobus Wiese, Kobus van Dyk, Jaco Coetzee and the exciting Juarno Augustus, who was player of the tournament at last year’s IRB under 20 world championship, waiting in the wings. Carr is currently on loan at English club, Wasps, and has reportedly been in great form and become an instant favourite at the Ricoh Arena.
Thor, as the 31 year old Vermeulen is affectionately known by his teammates, will not only be bringing experience, bulk and brawn to the team but is also a great lineout option at the back and despite his 1.93m and 117kg frame, a fierce competitor at the breakdown and possessess an uncanny ability to create turnover ball for his team.
Stormers coach, Robbie Fleck, will be a happy man as Vermeulen will be the second Springbok to return to the Cape to take up a dual contract after loosehead prop, Steven Kitshoff, also returned from France last year after a stint with Bordeaux.
Critics will be quick to point out that Vermeulen has never been too far away from controversy since he left Cape Town in 2015 although he has somewhat redeemded himself by playing two tests for the Boks at the end of last year.
The Stormers start their Super Rugby campaign against the Jaguares at Newlands on 17 February.