Vermeulen Springboks

Jacques Nienaber, Duane Vermeulen and Rassie Erasmus. Photo: SA Rugby website

What’s next for Vermeulen? Stormers return, Bok coaching role?

Duane Vermeulen has officially retired from international rugby, but there could still be an interesting role for him in South African rugby.

Vermeulen Springboks

Jacques Nienaber, Duane Vermeulen and Rassie Erasmus. Photo: SA Rugby website

Tributes have been flooding in for Duane Vermeulen following the decision to retire by the double Rugby World Cup-winning No 8, who is a former captain of the national team.

The 37-year-old 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.

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While Vermeulen has hung up his boots at Test level, it shouldn’t be forgotten that it has previously been reported that he could still be set for what would effectively be a player/coach role of sorts at the Stormers, where he would most likely accelerate his transition into coaching.

It’s been suggested that the Springboks are keen to also soon introduce Vermeulen into their coaching ranks, possibly as a defence specialist to take over from departing Jacques Nienaber, who previously covered this department.

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Vermeulen was seen alongside the likes of Rassie Erasmus and Nienaber during the Springboks’ World Cup pool game against Ireland, and even then he hinted at considering a move into coaching.

“You never know. If you had asked me this a couple of years ago, I would have probably said no,” he said. “But when you finish, you want to give back to the younger guys. If the opportunity arises, if there is a possibility, then I would love to stay in the game. I would like to help younger guys, younger players.

“You never know where life takes you…”

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Tributes for Vermeulen

Duane Vermeulen was lauded by Mr Mark Alexander, President of the South African Rugby Union, after concluding his Bok career.

“Duane 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 Mr 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.”

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