‘South African rugby is chaos and agendas’ – Vermeulen

Date published: November 3 2016

Springbok number eight Duane Vermeulen feels that rugby in South Africa is in a state of “chaos” and doesn’t expect the situation to change soon.

Earlier this month, Vermeulen expressed his dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs with the state of the game in South Africa and hit out at the game’s administrators.

Since then, Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee has denied that he’s had a falling out with Vermeulen after the Toulon captain was curiously left out of Coetzee’s squad for their end-of-year tour.

Now the 30-year-old has admitted that his criticism was a risky thing to do but feels it was the correct decision.

“You always get ex-players talking about the game,” Vermeulen told The Telegraph.

“You never hear current players say anything about the game but we are the guys who are really in there and see what is happening. Maybe I am the first active player to voice their opinion, but that is a good thing.

“I just wanted to stand up for the players. Other people feel they cannot say anything. If that hinders my opportunity to be selected, then so be it. I stand by what I said. It is just giving people the facts of what is going on.”

Although South African rugby has a plethora of problems, Vermeulen highlighted the lack of leadership from the game’s administrators.

“The most important thing is that people should pull in the same direction,” he added.

“At the moment, it is just chaos. Everyone has their own agendas. That’s my opinion. That’s how I felt within the set-up.”

Vermeulen said the state at which South African rugby has deteriorated was best illustrated in their final Rugby Championship match in which they suffered a humiliating 57-15 defeat to the All Blacks in Durban.

“It was difficult to watch,” he said.

“We played them a year ago in a World Cup semi-final and we lost by two points effectively to a Dan Carter dropped goal. One year later, to lose by 42 points shows there must be something wrong.”

Vermeulen believes it’s going to be a while before things improve.

“You are not going to turn the ship that quickly,” said the former Stormers stalwart.

“Hopefully, guys will be pulling in the same direction. Everyone wants to lift the World Cup in 2019. I still would like to be a part of it. I spoke my mind. I took that chance. We’ll have to see what happens.”