Duane Vermeulen Ulster URC to take on Bulls

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen to take on Bulls. Photo: Twitter @UlsterRugby

Ulster coach: Vermeulen set for big impact in South Africa

Ulster coach Dan McFarland says the influence of Duane Vermeulen is sure to be a key factor during their URC tour to South Africa.

Duane Vermeulen Ulster URC to take on Bulls

Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen to take on Bulls. Photo: Twitter @UlsterRugby

Springbok superstar Duane Vermeulen was an automatic inclusion in the Ulster touring group for their United Rugby Championship matches in South Africa, which will include a clash against the Stormers at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday before tackling the Bulls next weekend.

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There are also six Ireland players called up by McFarland: Rob Herring, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, James Hume and Mike Lowry, while prop Tom O’Toole is back from injury.

Vermeulen moved to Ulster in 2021

The 35-year-old could come up against Evan Roos of the Stormers and Elrigh Louw of the Bulls, both of whom have been widely rated as future Springboks.

“With regards to the individual specifics of his influence in these weeks against the South African teams, I’m not sure if it’s going to be any greater than the influence he’s had in general,” McFarland said when talking about Vermeulen’s impact at Ulster, and the knowledge he could add on tour.

“We have a style in the way that we play and we’re interested in our mauling and maul defence game and he’s had a huge influence in that area.

“He deeply understands the SA methodology around those areas and there’s been insight into that all through his stay in Belfast. Whether he’ll be involved in both games will remain to be seen, but he is a big influence.”

Speaking more specifically about the challenge expected from a resurgent Stormers team, McFarland said it was an opportunity to achieve something special in Cape Town, particularly at a time when South African sides have recorded eight wins and no losses against touring northern hemisphere teams recently.

“It’s an opportunity to do something the other eight teams haven’t managed to do. There hasn’t been a win here,” McFarland said.

“The Ospreys play the Lions on Friday and we’re up next, but it isn’t a surprise to see how well the SA teams are playing at home.

“When they were in the northern hemisphere, they struggled to acclimatise around the style of play, the conditions and the new competition.

“It’s similar to us coming down here as we’re used to playing in our conditions as compared to 30-degree heat. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge.”

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