Springbok Duane Vermeulen Stormers SA Rugby

Duane Vermeulen celebrates after his last-ever Test for the Springboks. Photo: SA Rugby website.

Tributes pour in for Duane Vermeulen — the Thor of Springbok rugby

Confirmation of Duane Vermeulen’s immediate retirement from Test rugby has been meet special tributes from people around the world.

Springbok Duane Vermeulen Stormers SA Rugby

Duane Vermeulen celebrates after his last-ever Test for the Springboks. Photo: SA Rugby website.

Two-time World Cup-winning Springbok Cobus Reinach is leading the charge of those who have paid tribute to Duane Vermeulen after his retirement from rugby. 

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The 37-year-old Duane Vermeulen’s illustrious Springbok career spanned 76 Tests over 11 seasons and if it wasn’t for injuries, he would probably have racked up a century of appearances in the green and gold. He started 68 of his Tests in the No 8 jersey, played three times at flanker and five times off the bench, scoring three tries for South Africa.

Vermeulen, who hails from Mbombela in Mpumalanga, made his Test debut against Australia in Perth in 2012 and concluded his international journey in the 2023 Rugby World Cup Final against New Zealand in Paris.


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Duane Vermeulen won the SA Rugby Player of the Year Award twice (2014 and ’20), along with an elite club of only five players who have won the award more than once since the advent of professionalism: Schalk Burger (2004, ’11), Bryan Habana (2005, ’07, ’12), Fourie du Preez (2006, ’09), Jean de Villiers (2008, ’13) and Pieter-Steph du Toit (2016, ’18, ’19).


“Duane Vermeulen will forever be regarded as one of the real hard men of South African rugby – he was not only a formidable force for the Springboks but also a multifaceted player who consistently delivered his best,” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

“As someone who preferred to operate away from the limelight, Duane was one of those players who never settled for second best and always gave everything he had to his team.

“He was a leader who captained South Africa in four Tests, but he also retired as the most-capped Springbok No 8 with two Rugby World Cup winners’ medals – a wonderful achievement for a player who will be remembered as a true legend of the sport.”

“Duane Vermeulen made a massive impression wherever he went, and looking at his achievements all over the world, it’s clear that he was not only a Springbok great, but a superb ambassador for South Africa,” added Alexander.

“I know Duane still has a lot to give back to our wonderful game, but as his playing career comes to an end, on behalf of the entire South African rugby family, I would like to thank Duane for his selfless service to his country and the Springboks, as well as his provincial unions.”

Duane Vermeulen with Springboks' coaches
Jacques Nienaber, Duane Vermeulen and Rassie Erasmus. Photo: SA Rugby website